JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Forty-four percent of Jewish settlers would be ready to leave their homes in the occupied West Bank without resistance if Israel decided to remove them, a poll published on Wednesday by an Israeli newspaper showed.
The percentage of settlers said they would evacuate was up from 25 percent last June, the poll conducted by the Geocartografia Institute showed.
The survey in the Maariv daily said a representative sample of the 240,000 settlers had been asked whether they would agree to leave under an Israeli "realignment" plan which calls for removal of some isolated settlements while strengthening others.
The survey, which included settlers who would be unlikely to face evacuation, did not ask respondents to explain why they might be open to leaving.
Many settlers who live in the West Bank stake a biblical claim to the territory. Others were attracted by cheap housing and tax breaks for Israelis in the territory, where Palestinians want to establish a state.
Settlement evacuations, which Israeli officials said could include some 70,000 people, are part of a plan by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to set a border unilaterally with Palestinians in the absence of peace talks.