Poll: 78.8 percent of Israelis condemn massacre

JERUSALEM, March 1 -- More than three-quarters of the Israeli population condemns the massacre of 39 Palestinians by a Jewish settler at a West Bank mosque, but 3.6 percent praise the gunman for carrying out the slaughter, a pollshowed Tuesday.

The survey of 500 adults across the country, conducted by the Teleseker polling firm and commissioned by the International Center for Peace in the Middle East, indicated 78.8 percent of the population condemned the act.


Among them, 51.7 percent strongly condemned gunman Baruch Goldstein, while 27.1 percent simply said they condemned him.

Of those who refused to condemn the American immigrant physician, 10. 8 percent said the massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron Friday had to be 'understood against the background of Arab terror against Jews'. A 3.6 percent sample vigorously praised Goldstein for killing Arabs and 6.8 percent had no opinion.

The poll also found that 52.1 percent of the population favors making the Kach movement and other extremist anti-Arab groups illegal, while 31 percent oppose such a move.

In another question, 77.6 percent said they oppose the dismantling of settlements and 61 percent favor allowing Jews to continue to live in the center of Hebron, a predominantly Arab town.


Sixty-six percent said they fear the massacre will delay the peace process, while 17.7 percent said they thought it would speed up peace negotiations.

(Written by Jonathon Ferziger in Jerusalem).

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