Most Israelis want direct talks with Hamas: Poll

Most Israelis are in favour of holding talks with Hamas to agree a ceasefire and secure the release of a captured Israeli soldier, an Israeli survey said on Wednesday.

Most Israelis want direct talks with Hamas: Poll
Most Israelis are in favour of holding talks with Hamas Islamists to agree a ceasefire and secure the release of a captured Israeli soldier, an Israeli survey said on Wednesday.

A poll in the left-leaning Haaretz daily said 64 percent of Israelis supported talks with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, to end cross-border rocket fire from the enclave and to secure the release of sergeant Gilad Shalit, who was abducted in 2006.

Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said they opposed talks with Hamas and eight percent said they did not know if it was the right move.

Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip last June after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, who has since opened U.S.-backed talks with Israel.

Israel has imposed an embargo on the coastal enclave, cutting back food and fuel supplies to its 1.5 million residents, a move humanitarian groups have called "collective punishment".

In a position backed by the West, Israel has ruled out dealings with Hamas until it recognises the Jewish state.

Hamas says it would consider a ceasefire if Israel lifted its blockade and ceased military operations in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Hamas, in talks with Egyptian mediators, has also offered a swap deal that could bring Shalit's release in exchange for the freeing of hundreds of Palestinians from Israeli jails.

But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office has referred to the Hamas offer as disappointing.

The Haaretz-Dialog survey, conducted by Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, polled 500 people.

Reuters
Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2008, 12:30
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