By AFP – 1 Sept 2010
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Two-thirds of Israelis support a total or partial resumption of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, according to a poll broadcast on Wednesday, as peace talks are due to restart in Washington.
Thirty nine percent of those questioned said they favour construction resuming in all the settlements from September 26, when a partial 10-month moratorium imposed by the Israeli government under US pressure expires.
Another quarter said they thought construction should only restart in the larger settlement blocks and not in smaller, isolated settlements, according to the poll, aired on private Channel Ten TV station.
Only 21 percent supported a continuation of the building freeze, with the remainder undecided.
The poll was carried out by the Gal Hadash Institute on behalf of Channel Ten, shortly after an attack in the Hebron area of the West Bank on Tuesday that killed four Israeli settlers.
The channel did not specify how many people were questioned in the poll or give the margin of error.
The settlement issue has been one of the thorniest in peace efforts and will be addressed during the negotiations due to start on Thursday, the first direct talks in 20 months.
In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday that there was “no change to the cabinet decision to end the (partial construction freeze) at the end of September 2010,” his office said.
The Palestinians have insisted this would torpedo the peace talks.