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Poll: Nearly 90 Percent of Israelis Back Bombings

Associated Press | July 18, 2006

Nearly nine out of 10 Israelis say the country's aerial campaign in Lebanon is justified and almost 60 percent say Israel should fight until Hezbollah is destroyed, according to a poll published Tuesday.

The Dahaf poll, published in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, found that 81 percent of Israelis want the offensive to continue. Another 78 percent are satisfied with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's performance.

And 72 percent said they backed Defense Minister Amir Peretz, formerly a populist union leader whose appointment to head the military a few months ago raised concerns he lacked the military experience for the job.

Monday's poll of 513 Israelis was the first since Israel began its campaign against the Lebanese guerilla group on Wednesday. The poll has an error margin of 4.2 percentage points.

Israel attacked Hezbollah after the guerrilla group carried out a cross-border raid, killing eight Israeli soldiers and capturing two others.

Israel has carried out a relentless aerial campaign in Lebanon and its capital Beirut, while Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns and cities.

More than 200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, and 24 Israelis have been killed in the fighting.

But unlike during Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, when Israelis were divided over the military presence and public pressure finally forced a withdrawal, this time there is almost back-to-back support for the operation.

According to the opinion poll, 86 percent of Israelis said the current operation was justified and 58 percent said it should continue until Hezbollah is destroyed.





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