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Poll: 56 percent of Israelis oppose settlement freeze

(JTA) — A majority of Israelis think Israel should not agree to a complete freeze on West Bank settlement construction, a new poll showed.

According to a poll by the Maagar Mohot Polling Institute and reported by Ha’aretz, 56 percent of those surveyed think Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not agree to the U.S. demand to stop all settlement activity, while 37 percent think he should. The poll was sponsored by the group IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis). Respondents were asked, "Should Netanyahu agree to President Obama’s demand of a complete construction freeze beyond the Green Line — including in Jerusalem and settlement blocs — including ‘natural growth’?"

Netanyahu is scheduled to give a major policy speech on Sunday addressing the issue.

A separate poll by the same organization, which was commissioned by the Ariel University Center in the settlement of Ariel, found that a large number of Israelis would not support the dismantlement of most West Bank settlements as part of a peace deal. Thirty-six percent said they would oppose any settlement evacuation and an additional 30 percent said only a "small number" should be dismantled.

Both polls surveyed 503 people and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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