Majority Backs PM's Unilateral Disengagement Plan

A clear majority of Israelis favors Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "unilateral disengagement" outline for separation from the Palestinians, but doubts that Sharon truly intends to carry it out, according to an opinion poll released Thursday.

Sharon, announcing the plan in a speech a week ago, said he would begin implementing it in a few months if it became evident the Palestinian Authority was not undertaking its commitments in the road map and that some elements in the plan - which he dubbed a security, not a political, measure - could begin even sooner.

He said the plan includes redeployment of the IDF along a "security line" in the territories, and evacuation of isolated settlements that Sharon said would in any case not be included in Israeli territory in any future settlement. At the same time, Israel will strengthen its control over "those parts of the Land of Israel that will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel in any future settlement."

The poll, commissioned by Israel Radio, showed that 59 percent of respondents said they supported the plan. Among voters of Sharon's Likud, however, backers barely outnumbered opponents, 41 to 38 percent.

Many of those who backed the plan were skeptical whether Sharon would or could carry it out, the radio said.

Asked if they supported the evacuation of Migron, an illegal but strongly established outpost near the West Bank city of Ramallah, 54 percent of recipients said they did.

Among Likud voters, a majority was opposed to taking down the outpost. Fully 91 percent of voters of the rightist National Religious Party and the National Union faction opposed the move, but a majority believed that the rightist parties would remain in the coalition even if Migron were evacuated.

The poll also showed a strong 60 to 70 majority opposing soldiers' refusal to obey orders, whether ordered to serve in the territories or to evacuate settlements.