Poll: Majority of Israelis support, but sceptical of Gaza truce
A majority of Israelis supports the truce between Israel and the radical Islamic Hamas movement ruling Gaza, but they were sceptical that it would last, an opinion poll published Friday said.
Some 56 per cent of Israelis questioned said they were in favor of the six-month truce brokered by Egypt, which took effect Thursday at 6 am (0300 GMT), according to Yediot Ahronot, the Israeli daily which commissioned the poll, reported dpa.
The truce, which came after months of deadly violence and difficult indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas, has taken a precarious hold, with no violent incidents reported in its first more than 30 hours.
Some 64 per cent of Israelis asked nevertheless said they did not believe the truce would last.
The truce also has not helped Prime Minister Ehud Olmert increase his popularity, according to the poll, with 79 per cent saying they had not changed their opinion about the embattled Israeli leader, who is being investigated by police on suspicions that he illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of US dollars from an American Jewish fundraiser.
The opposition hardline Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu is to bring a first reading of a bill calling for early elections before the Knesset (parliament) next week, and the centre-left Labour Party, Olmert's largest coalition party, has said it will support it.
Labour Party leader and Defence Minister Ehud Barak has not yet decided whether to support the decisive second and third reading of the bill, but has demanded Olmert's centrist Kadima party hold primaries soon to replace him, if it wants to avoid early elections.
According to Friday's poll, the Likud, which opposes the Annapolis peace process, would beat both the Olmert-led Kadima and Labour if elections were held today.
Some 31 per cent of Israelis asked said Netanyahu was most suited to be prime minister, against 17 pr cent for Barak and only 10 per cent for Olmert.
When given the option to chose between Netanyahu, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Olmert's rival in Kadima and Barak, Netanyahu and Livni tied, with each obtaining 30 per cent. The Yediot poll questioned 500 adult Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.4 per cent.