An opinion poll in Israel has revealed the country's overwhelming dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's performance in the latest Gaza crisis and confrontation with the Palestinians.
The poll was conducted on 500 citizens, chosen for being representative of Israeli society. The result was a staggering seventy-four per cent of Israelis dissatisfied with Netanyahu over Gaza; it calls into question the credibility of the ruling Likud party in its handling of the situation.
The same participants who were surveyed were also asked which party they would vote for today as a result of their dissatisfaction. The result predicted that Likud would only win 29 Knesset seats, compared to the 32 that it was predicted to win in a poll taken only last month. It is a result which demonstrates that Netanyahu's right-wing party is more unpopular than previously thought. This is the first time that predictions for the next election have fallen below 30 Likud seats since March.
The poll also exposed that Netanyahu is currently more unpopular than the now former Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, about whom 69 per cent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction. Just over half of the participants, 51 per cent, were dissatisfied with army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
The decline in popularity is due to the latest escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as well as Netanyahu's handling of the situation. The violence erupted when undercover Israeli Special Forces troops killed seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander, in a botched operation deep inside the coastal enclave. A senior Israeli officer was also killed. Israel went on to bomb numerous targets across Gaza, including a television station and the Hamas military wing's intelligence headquarters.
The conflict ended when Netanyahu decided to accept a ceasefire on Wednesday instead of waging an all-out war on Hamas, which infuriated much of the country as well as his Cabinet, prompting Lieberman's resignation. There is now speculation that there could be a snap election, in which it is being predicted by many that Netanyahu could possibly lose due to his decision to agree to the ceasefire.
Just hours after the truce came into force, Israel broke its terms by firing at and killing a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza on Wednesday afternoon.