Sunday, July 23, 2006

Little dissent as Israelis support war

From the BBC

The withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 2000 was brought about in part by increasing public pressure to pull out.

But, just six years on, Israelis stand almost unanimously behind the decision to wage a new war across the country's northern border.

According to recent opinion polls, as many as 90% of Israeli citizens approve of the offensive against Hezbollah and want it to continue.

"The situation with Hezbollah and Iran created a siege mentality among the Israeli people," said veteran Israeli pollster, Rafi Smith.

"Whenever Israel is attacked, people are always more patriotic and support the government, which is why so many people support this war."

Voices of dissent are scarce, but despite overwhelming public approval for the campaign, there is still a small number of Israelis who have come out against the conflict.

In Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday night, some 2,000 protesters, both Jews and Arabs, held a demonstration against the war, and - unusually in Israel - the country's alliance with the United States.

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