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Poll: Little support in Israel for solo strike on Iran

Reuters

March 1, 2012 | 8:40 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Feb. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Hollander/Pool

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Feb. 26. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Hollander/Pool

A wide majority of Israelis either oppose an Israeli strike on Iran or would favor an attack only if it was carried out with U.S. agreement, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

The survey by the University of Maryland and the Israeli Dahaf Institute was released before talks next week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama on Iran’s nuclear program.

The poll found that 34 percent of the 500 people surveyed believed that Israel should not strike Iran and 42 percent said it should attack only if the United States backed the decision.

Only 19 percent believed Israel should attack even without the support of Washington, which said on Wednesday that diplomacy and increased sanctions to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions have time to work.

Netanyahu and Obama are to meet at the White House on Monday amid U.S. concern that Israel, which has cautioned that time is running out for effective military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, could attack them.

Though both Israel and the United States have not ruled out the use of military force against Iran, U.S. officials have said such action would be premature and could destabilize the Middle East.

Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, not to build a weapon. Israel, widely believed to be the region’s only atomic power, has said a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence.

Writing by Maayan Lubell

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