Poll: Israelis sceptical on peace talks amid Gaza violence

(dpa) - With the persisting violence in Gaza and Israeli communities bordering the Strip, most Israelis do not believe that recently revived peace talks will lead to an agreement, a poll published Friday indicated.

Almost seven-tenths (69 per cent) of Israelis believe the talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not lead to a peace agreement, the poll in Israel's biggest-selling Yediot Ahronot daily said.

More than three-quarters (78 per cent) believe Israel is holding the talks for political reasons and not because it believes in them.

Olmert's support ratings remain low, with 11 per cent saying he most suitable to be prime minister of three candidates who included also Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu of the hardline Likud and Defence Minister Ehud Barak of the coalition Labour Party.

Some 33 per cent, the highest figure, believed Netanyahu was most suitable.

And if elections were held today, Netanyahu's Likud would crush Olmert's centrist Kadima, and receive the largest number of mandates - 27 - in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament), while Kadima would come in third with 14 mandates, after Labour with 19, the poll said.

The poll questioned 500 Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.5 per cent.

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