Poll: Nearly Half of Israelis would Hand over West Bank

Published June 30th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Nearly half of Israelis would be prepared to hand over 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, while keeping Jerusalem and Jewish settlements under Israeli sovereignty, an opinion poll showed Friday. 

About two-thirds back a government of national unity for Israel grouping Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Labour Party and the opposition Likud block, with only a quarter considering Barak's present coalition is up to the job. 

The poll of 501 people was published in the top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot. It had a margin of error of 4.5 percent. 

To the question "Would you back a peace agreement providing for the transfer of 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, the creation of blocks of settlements under Israeli sovereignty in the remainder of the West Bank and the maintenance of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem?", 49 percent said 'yes' and 46 percent 'no'. The remaining five percent did not reply. 

Recent press reports have said this is more or less what Barak is proposing for a peace deal, which should be signed by September 13th, though he has denied there is any percentage figure on the table. 

The Palestinians want all the land on the West Bank and Gaza Strip occupied by Israel from Jordan and Egypt respectively in the 1967 Middle East war, plus east Jerusalem, which they want for a future capital. 

Israel has declared the whole of Jerusalem its eternal capital, a move unrecognized by the international community, and 67 percent of the poll respondents said they wanted it kept that way. 

Of the rest, 22 percent were in favor of shared sovereignty and 11 percent had no opinion - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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