Public Wants Referendum

New surveys show that the majority of Israelis support a referendum on the major question currently facing the Israeli public, namely, the disengagement-withdrawal-expulsion plan.<BR><br/>

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One survey was carried out by the Brain Base (Maagar Mochot) research institute, headed by Prof. Yitzchak Katz, the day after Tuesday's Sharm a-Sheikh summit. The phone pollers spoke with 522 people, and found that though 65% support the disengagement plan, 54% of the populace feel it should be decided by referendum.

The next day, Brain Base conducted another phone poll (609 respondents), and found that only 54% of them would vote in favor of the disengagement. It further found that 52% favor a national referendum.

Another poll, carried out this week by Teleseker for Maariv newspaper, found that 61% favor the disengagement plan.

These numbers are encouraging to disengagement opponents. Many of them have expressed confidence that their concerted door-to-door campaign to explain the dangers of Sharon's plan can sway the necessary 10-12% needed to have it turned down in a national referendum.

The Teleseker poll found a large disparity in the public's confidence in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority. Some 78% think that Israel will honor the commitments it declared at the Sharm a-Sheikh Summit, among them to halt military operations in the territories, while only 47% feel that the PA leadership will honor its Sharm Summit commitments to seriously battle terror.

The first Brain Base survey found:
* Despite the summit, 66% say the intifada is not yet over.
* Despite the claim that it might be a deal-breaker, 71% say Palestinian terrorist prisoners with 'blood on their hands' should not be released.
* 41% say that Israel has abandoned Jonathan Pollard.




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