Poll: Release Israeli Arabs for Schalit

Over half of Israelis po

About 58 percent of Israelis polled gave their support for the release of Israeli Arabs who carried out violent attacks within Israel in exchange for kidnapped solider Gilad Schalit, a 5% decrease from a similar poll conducted that excluded Schalit's name. The poll released on Tuesday by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace interviewed an Israeli sample of 604 adults in Hebrew, Arabic or Russian between December 9 and 15 on topics ranging from prisoner exchange, settlement freezes and Palestinian elections. According to the poll, 58% of the Israelis surveyed supported and 36% opposed the release of the prisoners for Schalit. The remainder gave no opinion. The same poll that excluded Schalit's name was taken in August with 63% of Israelis supporting and 27% opposing this act. The poll was planned and supervised by Prof. Yaacov Shamir of the Truman Institute and the department of communications and gournalism at the Hebrew University The earlier poll had shown that only a slim majority of Israelis, 52%, thought that Israel should pay almost any price to return prisoners of war home since "this is the moral obligation of the state which sent them to war," according to Shamir. Thirty-five percent however, thought that Israel should not free terrorists who killed Israelis in terrorist acts inside Israel "since this will encourage further abductions and acts of terror," he said about the poll's results. "This reflects the general parameters of public debate in Israel regarding the negotiations with Hamas over Gilad Schalit, but we deliberately avoided mentioning his name in this question in order not to bias our respondents," Shamir continued. The poll also questioned Israelis following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement of a 10-month partial freeze on construction in the West Bank; the poll found that 49% of Israelis support and 42% oppose this decision. Netanyahu's decision to put a freeze on construction in the settlements caused a significant political uproar mainly from settlers and right wing parties according to Shamir. "Our poll however indicates that 42% among Israelis oppose such a freeze, whereas 49% support it," Shamir said. Another related development which intensified following Netanyahu's decision was increased protest against and the refusal to evict settlers from illegal outposts within the military. The poll examined Israelis' attitudes on this issue with 34% of Israelis supporting and 57% opposing the refusal of soldiers to evict settlers in the West Bank. Only 27% supported and 66% opposed the refusal of soldiers to serve in the West Bank. The margin of error in the polls is 4.5%.