Israelis favour Gaza blockade: Survey

Thursday, June 10, 2010

TEL AVIV - An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe their country should stop also the next blockade-breaking aid flotilla to Gaza if there is one.

As many as 91 percent replied positively to a question whether Israel should stop the next ship attempting to dock in Gaza in defiance of the Israeli naval blockade of the strip, according to an opinion poll published in the Israel Hayom daily Thursday.

A strong majority of Israelis (78 percent) also think their country should not lift the blockade of Gaza.

And most (73 percent) now regard Turkey - once Israel’s perhaps closest or only Muslim alley in the region and thus far a popular tourist destination among Israelis - as an “enemy state”.

Only 13 percent support an international investigation into last week’s fatal interception in the Mediterranean Sea of seven ships headed to Gaza.

Instead, a panel of Israeli justices should probe the incident to “learn lessons”, many believe.

Nine activists - eight Turks and one Turkish-American - were killed when Israeli naval commandos opened fire on the Turkish Mavi Marmara after their take-over of the ship turned violent.

According to Israeli military accounts, the violence started when a group of several activists resisted the boarding of the vessel with sticks, knives and other objects.

Israel alleges they also snatched the gun of a soldier and used it to open fire.

The incident has revived the debate about the legality and effectiveness of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, imposed in response to rocket and mortar fire from the coastal enclave at southern Israeli communities, and to the capture in a 2006 cross-border raid of an Israeli soldier who is still being held captive in Gaza.

US President Barack Obama, meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington Wednesday, called for a new approach to the Gaza quagmire and called the status quo “inherently unstable”.

The polling institute commission by Israel Hayom questioned 561 adult Israelis - standard for the country with a population of 7.5 million - for the survey, which had a margin of error of 4 percent.

Filed under: Politics

Tags: ,
will not be displayed