Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Olmert's popularity slips as Hezbollah attacks go on

AGENCIES , JERUSALEM

Rising Israeli casualties and constant Hezbollah rocket attacks have eroded public support in Israel for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defense minister, opinion polls showed yesterday.

"Olmert must go," read the main headline in Israel's left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.

A survey in Haaretz showed 48 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Olmert's performance compared with popularity ratings above 75 percent in the early stages of fighting against the Lebanese guerrilla group.

Public support for Defense Minister Amir Peretz had fallen from 65 percent to 37 percent, the survey showed.

Some are already whetting their knives for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. An opinion in the Israeli daily Haaretz on Friday, which likened acceptance of the latest UN ceasefire proposal to an "unconditional ceasefire to Hezbollah," said Olmert "cannot remain in the prime minister's office."

"You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power," the paper thundered.

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