Public Support for Disengagement Shrinking

Recent polls show a continuing decline in public support for the government's Disengagement Plan.

, | updated: 12:35

According to a poll published in the daily Ma'ariv newspaper's weekend edition, 54% of Israelis are now in favor of the forcible removal of Jews from the Gaza region and northern Samaria, as compared to 61% in a poll taken three weeks ago. Opposition climbed marginally, from 31 to 33%. The percentage of people saying they are undecided has increased from 7 to 11%.

The Ma'ariv results, collected by the Teleseker agency, confirm and strengthen survey data reported last month by the Tzav Pius organization, committed to dialogue among Israelis of differing backgrounds. According to the Tzav Pius poll, carried out in January, support for Disengagement fell to 55%, from 66% at the end of last year. The poll also showed that 29% of Israeli Jews expressly opposed the plan.

Addressing a conference of organizations opposed to the Disengagement Plan on Thursday, Knesset Member Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union) called for continuing all forms of protest. Specifically, Eldad called for 10,000 Jews to march on major highways throughout the country carrying old "refugee-type" or orange suitcases in solidarity with Gush Katif. Eldad believes continued opposition can foil government plans to uproot Jewish Gaza and Samaria. In an act of solidarity, Eldad and his wife recently relocated to Sanur, one of four northern Samaria communities slated for destruction under the prime minister's plan.

Addressing the same forum, Daniella Weiss, mayor of the town of Kedumim in Samaria, said that people must be ready for the prime minister to implement harsh tactics to enforce implementation of the Disengagement Plan. Weiss stated that she would not be at all surprised if after Independence Day, observed this coming Thursday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon imposed a military closure on Jews living in Judea and Samaria. If such a closure is imposed, Weiss said, Disengagement opponents must be willing to bypass army checkpoints on foot, and efforts to oppose the implementation of the plan must be increased.