The opinion poll in the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper also indicated decreasing public support for Jewish settlers before the general election on 28 March which the Kadima party of Ehud Olmert, the interim prime minister, is expected to win.

The ballot found that 57% of respondents blamed settler protesters for the violence in which 160 people were hurt after settlers threw bricks and metal shards at the police.

Only 16% of respondents blamed police.
 
The paper did not say how many people were polled.
 
The violence that broke out when police demolished nine houses in the Amona outpost on Wednesday was comparable with the worst confrontations between Jewish ultranationalists and security forces during Israel's withdrawal from Gaza five months ago.

Public support

Settlers accused Olmert of pushing ahead with the evacuation to drum up support in the run-up to the election.

Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last year after a 38-year occupation, and indications by Olmert that he will pull out from more West Bank settlements if elected, seem to have earned Kadima public support.

The latest polls showed that Kadima would win 42 seats in the 120-seat parliament in the election, far ahead of the centre-left Labour party and the right-wing Likud. They would capture 21 and 15 seats respectively.