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Most Israelis want peace negotiations revived after Annapolis

By dpa news     Oct 31, 2007 in Politics
Nearly three-quarters of Israelis want their prime minister to start peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas immediately after next month's Middle East conference in the US, a poll published Wednesday indicated.
Some 72.9 per cent support such a revival of negotiations with the aim of reaching a final peace deal within one year, the poll said.
A majority of 54.4 per cent also said they would support transferring Jerusalem's Arab neighbourhoods to Palestinian sovereignty, an almost complete withdrawal from the West Bank and the release of all Palestinian militants held in Israeli prisons.
But they would do so only as part of an overall peace agreement that declared an end to the conflict and to further Palestinian claims.
It presented the poll at a news conference in Tel Aviv, which launched a new public relations campaign by the Israeli peace camp, calling on Olmert not to miss the opportunity for a revival of serious peace negotiations at the conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
The campaign by the Geneva Initiative and the Israeli Peace Now movement includes posters on billboards and banners on internet sites, aimed at exposing and boosting public support for a revival of peace talks.
The peace camp also plans a mass rally on Tel Aviv's central Rabin square Saturday night, marking 12 years since the assassination of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a fanatic Jew opposed to his peace moves with the Palestinians.
The poll was commissioned by the Geneva Initiative, an organization of dovish Israeli and Palestinian politicians and intellectuals, who gathered in Geneva in 2003 to draft an unofficial, extra-governmental peace agreement which they believed would enjoy majority support by both sides.
But Israelis were pessimistic about the ability of Olmert and Abbas, both considered internally weak, to reach an agreement.
Most (53.4 per cent) said they believed it was impossible to reach a final peace deal with Abbas, and most (54.5 per cent) believed it would be better to wait for the next Israeli prime minister as well.
The poll, conducted by the Market Watch institute, questioned 630 Israelis on October 7-8 and had a margin of error of 3.9 per cent.
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