New York – An Israeli poll released yesterday shows that 70% of Israelis are opposed to the Olmert government plan to carry out unilateral withdrawals in Judea and Samaria like that which were carried out last year in Gaza and northern Samaria. The poll was carried out by Shvakim Panorama. The survey moreover revealed that 65-70% of those Israelis who backed last years unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria also oppose the current Olmert plan.
The Shvakim Panorama poll also showed that 70% of Israelis who originally backed the Gaza/northern Samaria withdrawal would not do so if those withdrawals were being proposed today. Other survey findings include that most Israelis regard Ehud Olmert as a weak Prime Minister and that there has been a loss in support for Amir Peretzs Labor Party. The vast majority of those polled also responded negatively to the question, Do you feel safe in the country? (Yediot Ahronot, June 22).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The results of this poll are striking. A clear majority of Israelis now oppose the Olmerts government plan for further unilateral withdrawals and just as clearly most Israelis believe the original Gaza/northern Samaria withdrawal was a mistake. This is a change from the period up the Israeli elections in March, which showed the country almost evenly divided on the issue of further unilateral withdrawals. Hamas election victory in January and the events that have followed, including the incessant rocket attacks upon Israel from areas in Gaza evacuated last year, the arms smuggling into Gaza and so on have made Israelis realize more and more that the policy of unilateral retreats is a mistake which has yielded Israel nothing except new dangers. It is therefore not surprising that a vast majority of Israelis feel insecure and that support for Kadima and Labor, which have been pursuing these policies that increase Israeli insecurity, is falling.
Major military and defense establishment figures who have criticized or opposed Olmerts unilateral withdrawal plan include former Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon, outgoing Israeli National Security Council (NSC) head Major-General Giora Eiland, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens and former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, Yuval Steinitz.