24 November 2012
A “premature” truce ending eight days of Israeli air strikes on Gaza could see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing alliance lose votes in polls in January, a new survey has showed.
“Right-wing and ultra-religious voters favored continuing the military operation,” Professor Yitzhak Katz, who conducted the poll for daily Maariv, told Army Radio.
The survey said 31 percent of Israelis approved of the truce while 49 percent were opposed. When asked if the army should have re-occupied Gaza, 41 percent were against the idea and 29 percent were in favor. Netanyahu’s new party, Likud Beitenu, which was formed with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, would take 37 of 120 seats, down from 43. Still, right-wingers are still set to form a Cabinet.
Discontent over the cease fire struck by the Israeli prime minister with Hamas in Gaza has cost Benjamin Netanyahu some public support, although he is still expected to win the upcoming election on Jan. 22, a recent opinion poll has shown.
The Israeli Maariv newspaper conducted the survey after an eight-day Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip ended Nov. 21 with an Egyptian-mediated truce that Netanyahu’s critics said was premature. The survey said the newly-merged Likud Beitenu party of Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would take 37 of the 120 parliamentary seats up for election Jan. 22. A poll before the conflict suggested they would win 43, Reuters reported.
The two factions presently hold 42 seats combined.
Despite the predicted drop in support, Netanyahu remains on track to win a third term as prime minister at the head of a coalition of right-wing and religious parties that together look set to take 67 seats, the poll said Nov. 23.
The survey said 31 percent of Israelis approved of the cease fire while 49 percent were opposed. When asked if the army should have re-occupied Gaza, 41 percent were against the idea and 29 percent were in favor.
First Palestinian killed by Israeli fire since truce
Meanwhile, a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces near the Gaza border Nov. 23, the first casualty since the two sides agreed to a truce ending their week-long conflict in which 163 Palestinians were killed. Some 19 other Palestinians suffered gunshot wounds, Palestinian medics said.
Israel also barred Palestinians under the age of 40 from accessing Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site after Friday prayers.