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Poll Finds 60 Percent of Israelis Favor Shamir’s Elections Proposal

Sixty percent of Israelis and 83 percent of Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip support the idea of Palestinian elections in the administered territories, according to public opinion polls published in the past week.

But whereas the Israelis were questioned specifically on Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s election proposal, the Palestinians expressed support for elections under certain conditions not included in the Shamir plan.

The survey of Israeli attitudes was conducted by the Modi’in Ezrahi organization during the first and second weeks of June and published Tuesday in Ma’ariv. The 1,186 adults questioned were selected on the basis of their political affiliations.

Overall, 60 percent favored the Shamir plan and 40 percent opposed it. The same ratio was found among respondents identifying as members of Shamir’s Likud bloc.

Among members of the Labor Party, the plan was favored by an even wider margin of 66 to 34 percent.

An overwhelming 85 percent of Israelis identifying with the left wing supported the plan, while 55 percent of those affiliated with rightwing parties opposed it. Likewise, 54 percent of those belonging to religious parties opposed the election scenario.

The poll of Palestinians was conducted by the East Jerusalem weekly Al-Bayadir a-Siyassi among 104 residents of the territories. The results were published by the paper Saturday.

Ha’aretz, which published the results Sunday, said the survey was not made according to established norms of scientific poll-taking.

Those questioned, including public figures, were selected as a group supposed to represent the mood in the administered territories, Ha’aretz said.

The results showed that 17 percent oppose elections under any circumstances. Most of those respondents explained that the Palestine Liberation Organization is recognized by the Palestinian people as their authorized representative, so there is no need to elect others.

But 83 percent of those questioned expressed support for elections, though with many qualifications.

The support of 14 percent was conditional on the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Force from population centers in the territories. But 86 percent insisted on the IDF’s total withdrawal.

Other conditions stipulated by the respondents were international supervision of the elections, PLO consent to them and a guarantee that Israel will take no punitive action against those elected.

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