Poll: Most Israelis oppose withdrawal

50 percent of Israelis oppose, 46 percent support the realignment plan.

gaza pullout protest 88 (photo credit: )
gaza pullout protest 88
(photo credit: )
Most Israelis oppose Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally withdraw from most of the West Bank, a public opinion poll released Monday showed. 50 percent of Israelis oppose the premier's realignment plan, whereby Israel would pull out of the vast majority of the West Bank while maintaining the large settlement blocs, while 46% of Israelis support the proposal, the Hebrew University poll found. While 54 percent of the Israelis polled said that the outcome of the last election grants Olmert a mandate to carry out his withdrawal plan, 58% believe a referendum should be carried out over the contentious proposal. The poll's results indicate that the planned West Bank withdrawal is much more controversial than last year's Gaza pullout, which was supported by about two-thirds of the public, according to a series of public opinion polls carried out ahead of the Gaza withdrawal. The poll also found that Palestinians are almost evenly divided when asked how they would vote on a much-touted Palestinian "prisoner's document," with only a razor-thin majority in favor of the plan, which implicitly recognizes the State of Israel but also advocates the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian State along the 1967 lines. Although 74 percent of Palestinians say they support the document in general, only 47% would vote in favor of it in a referendum, while 44% would vote against it, the poll found. Nine percent of the respondents remain undecided. A Palestinian referendum on the proposal, which calls for the continuation of Palestinian terror attacks to be restricted to the territories, is tentatively slated to be held in one month's time. Israel views the plan, which is supported by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as a non-starter. The poll was carried out earlier this month with the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. The Israeli poll has a margin of error of 4 percent, while the Palestinian poll lists a margin of error of 3 percent.