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Israeli Public Skeptical About Summit

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The Israeli public does not believe the Camp David summit will produce any practical results, but nevertheless feels that Israel must submit new proposals to the meeting, according to a public opinion poll published yesterday.

The poll, conducted Aug. 14-16 for the government information center by the Institute for Applied Social Research and the Hebrew University communications institute, shows that 53 percent of Israelis feel the approaching summit will not significantly advance the political negotiations between Israel and Egypt. However, 39 percent of the adult urban population samples feel the Israeli government should draft and submit new proposals regardless.

A strong national consensus was cited on two points in the survey: 92 percent of the sampled population oppose the Egyptians’ demand that Israel commit itself to giving up the occupied territories as a precondition to renewed negotiations, while only eight percent approve such a move. Likewise, 90 percent agree with the Israeli government’s insistence on negotiations without prior conditions. Ninety percent also reject the idea of a neighboring Palestinian state.

On the issue of Lebanon, however, Israeli opinions were more widely distributed: 53 percent back Israeli military intervention in Beirut and 47 percent oppose such action.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ezer Weizman said today that he will go to Camp David even if his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Mohammed Gamassy, does not. Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Weizman said Israel must attend the summit conference with the firm belief that both sides are sincere in their desire for peace. He added that Israel must do its utmost in this respect, so that in the event of war, Israel will not be at blame.

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