x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Most Israelis believe their PM should have said 'yes' to Obama says poll

10% of Israelis thought Benjamin Netanyahu should have declared his support for the president¿s proposal on the 1967 borders question while another 47% said the Israeli leader should have expressed support ¿but with reservations¿.

JERUSALEM // The majority of Israelis believe their prime minister should have supported US President Barack Obama's outline for new peace talks with the Palestinians, according to a poll published today.

The survey, published in the Maariv newspaper, found 10% of Israelis thought Benjamin Netanyahu should have "declared his support for the president's remarks with no reservations."

Another 46.8% said the Israeli leader should have expressed support "but with reservations," while 36.7% said Mr Netanyahu should have declared his opposition to Mr Obama's principles for the peace process.

In a key speech on Middle East policy that came just before Mr Netanyahu flew to Washington, Mr Obama called for negotiations to resume immediately and for the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War to form the basis for the talks.

But Mr Netanyahu, in a statement issued just after that speech and in several of his own speeches while in Washington, rejected the 1967 lines as a basis for talks, calling them "indefensible."

The Maariv poll also found that if elections were held in Israel today, Mr Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party would win, increasing its number of seats in the Knesset to 30, from the 27 it currently holds.

The opposition Kadima party would take 27 seats of the 120-seat legislature, down from its current 28, while the ultra-nationalist Israel Beitenu party led by foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman would take 16 seats, compared with the 15 it currently holds.

Netanyahu also came out ahead of his political opponents on an individual basis, with 36.9 percent of respondents saying he was best suited to be prime minister.

Respondents put Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party, in second place with 28.3% support, followed by Mr Lieberman with 9.2% and defence minister Ehud Barak with just 2.6%.

The poll was carried out for Maariv by the Teleseker institute and surveyed 450 people. It had a margin of error of 4.6%.