Several polls, published on Thursday, indicated that members of the ruling Likud party are inclined to reject Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement plan", ahead of Sunday’s referendum.
A Maariv survey showed 45% of Likud members would vote against Sharon's plan and 42% would vote in favor. A poll by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily indicated that 47% of Likud members oppose the plan, while 39% are in favor with 14 percent still undecided.
About 193,000 Likud members will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on the plan.
Close aides to Sharon told Army Radio on Thursday that the prime minister will not, at this time, threaten to resign if the plan is not approved by the Likud referendum.
On his part, Sharon sounded confident in radio interviews aired on Thursday morning that his disengagement plan will win the support of party members in Sunday's referendum.
He claimed in the interviews, recorded on Wednesday, that he is not worried about the results of the poll. "I will win, I do not even want to think about the alternative. If I do not win, this will be the biggest victory for (Yasser) Arafat and Hamas," he said.
"I will win, I am certain that the extreme-right will not succeed this time in toppling a Likud government. Disengagement is good and important for Israel," he said.
Sharon warned that if the plan is defeated, "it will worsen our relations with the U.S. and bring about the fall of the Likud - that is the extreme right's plan. It is inconceivable that an outside group should lead the Likud." (Albawaba.com)
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