Most Israeli Jews favour return of Gaza settlements: poll

1 / 2

Israeli soldiers stand guard near the Israeli settlement of Katif, inside the Gush Katif settlement bloc, on April 27, 2005, ahead of the bloc's evacuation

Israeli soldiers stand guard near the Israeli settlement of Katif, inside the Gush Katif settlement bloc, on April 27, 2005, ahead of the bloc's evacuation (AFP Photo/David Furst)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Most Israeli Jews favour the reconstruction of a block of settlements in the Gaza Strip, a decade after Israel withdrew from the Palestinian territory, a poll published on Monday showed.

Some 51 percent of Israeli Jews said they were in favour of rebuilding the Gush Katif group of settlements, located in southern Gaza and where more than 8,000 Israelis lived prior to the 2005 withdrawal.

The poll published on the NRG news website of 587 people did not include members of the Arab minority, who represent nearly 20 percent of Israel's population.

Israel evacuated Gush Katif and other Gaza settlements in 2005 under a plan launched by then prime minister Ariel Sharon.

Israeli authorities have since prevented its citizens from travelling to Gaza.

The Gush Katif block was the most prominent of Israel's Gaza settlements.

Two years after the withdrawal, Islamist movement Hamas took power in the Palestinian coastal enclave and Israel tightened its blockade against the strip, which has seen three wars with the Jewish state in the past six years.

Gaza's 1.8 million population has been hit by grinding poverty and soaring unemployment, while Israel's blockade has been blamed in part for the lack of progress in rebuilding since a devastating war last summer.