08/26/2005, 00.00
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Israelis feel "hurt" but are "in favour" of Gaza pullout

Surveys in Israel's two leading newspaper highlight such views.


Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel's population feels "hurt and pained" by the forced evacuation of settlers from Gaza but "favours removing Jewish settlements in occupied lands", this according to survey results published in Yedioth Ahronoth, the country's biggest newspaper. The public opinion poll shows that 54 per cent of those surveyed want to continue Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan against 42 per cent who oppose it, with 4 per cent who did not respond.

According to the same poll, 68 per cent of Israelis favour removing hilltop outposts which Israeli governments have not authorised.

Israelis are almost evenly split over Prime Minister Sharon's future—49 per cent think he should stay on whilst 47 per cent think he should quit.

Israel's other leading newspaper, Haaretz, reports that the population believes that Israel "has been hurt and pained" by the Gaza evacuation. Only 23 per cent described Israel as "a normal, civilized state".

The paper's poll also indicated that none of Sharon's would-be adversaries is seen as worthy to replace him.

With his disengagement plan, Sharon forced 9,000 settlers out of the Gaza Strip, which Israel had occupied 38 years ago. This was the first Israeli pullout from occupied Palestinian territories.

The International Court of Justice has ruled all Israeli settlements illegal, but about 230,000 Jews remain in some 116 settlements scattered among the 2.4 million Palestinians of the West Bank.

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