Most Israelis want withdrawal from south Lebanon

September 5, 1997

Forwarded by Rania Masri:This report also states that 55% of Israelis was the "peace-process" to continue. - Rania (Rania Masri)

JERUSALEM, Sept 5 (AFP) - More than 50 percent of Israelis want the Jewish state to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, said a television opinion poll Friday after 12 soldiers were killed in a bungled raid in south Lebanon. The poll for public television said 52 percent of Israelis wanted a unilateral withdrawal from the "security zone" Israel has occupied in southern Lebanon since 1985 to protect its northern border from attack. The survey, a representative sample of 415 Jewish Israelis, also showed that 34 percent of people were against withdrawing from the border zone while 14 percent gave no response. Twelve elite Israeli commandos died in an ambush early Friday in a bungled attack on Lebanese guerrilla bases north of the occupied zone. With the latest deaths, a total of 29 Israeli soldiers have been killed this year in southern Lebanon -- including five who died in a huge blaze set off by Israeli artillery fire in clashes with Amal last month. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Friday that a withdrawal was out of the question: "South Lebanon is not Vietnam, which is thousands of kilometers from the United States. "South Lebanon adjoins our northern border and we cannot take the risk of exposing our communities in Galilee to terrorism," he told public television. The poll also revealed that 55 percent of Jewish Israelis want the peace process with the Palestinians to continue, despite the triple suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Thursday which killed four Israelis and wounded around 170. A total of 36 percent said they were against the process while nine percent gave no answer.

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