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Further Drop in Support for Withdrawal Plan: Down to 48 %

A major independent polling service reported today that support for the proposed Withdrawal Plan has dropped to 48 per cent. The survey will be telecast on Israel's Channel Two news tonight.
First Publish: 6/8/2005, 2:27 PM / Last Update: 6/8/2005, 4:47 PM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denounced the poll as a result of "incitement" by anti-evacuation groups. The poll was conducted by the Maagar Mohot Survey Institute.
Sharon and Ministers Ophir Pines and Yitzchak Herzog accused the residents slated for forcible removal from their homes with not cooperating and spreading misinformation.

An Israel Radio poll Wednesday revealed that opposition to the plan has grown to 40 percent from one-third a year ago. Opponents to the plan have pointed out that many of the supporters for the evacuation have conditioned their approval on cessation of terror and fair compensation for the residents.

Herzog blamed the residents to be evacuated for using a strategy to discourage security forces from fulfilling orders to expel the Jews from their homes. He said the government has "attractive offers" for the 9,000 soon-to-be misplaced civilians from northern Samaria and Gaza.

Sharon's aides said today's meeting, with press coverage, on the planned evacuation was aimed at shoring up support amid an escalation of Arab terror and more warnings from army officers that terror will escalate and threaten all of Israel after the planned withdrawal.

Meanwhile, housing statistics released today showed that communities in Gaza and northern Samaria have led the country in building starts.