New Israeli opinion polls show the Kadima party of interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is poised for victory in Tuesday's general elections.
Two surveys released Sunday (Haaretz newspaper-Channel 10 & Ma'agar Mohot for Channel 2) project Kadima winning at least 34 seats in the 120-member parliament, compared with at least 18 for the moderate Labor party.
Third place went to the hawkish Likud party in one poll and to the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party in the other.
If the polls hold true, Mr. Olmert would apparently have an easier time pushing forth his plan to carry out further unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank.
Separately, the incoming prime minister of the new Palestinian government voiced hopes for peace with Israel. Ismail Haniyeh of the Islamic militant group Hamas said Sunday Palestinian leaders do not - in his words - seek a "whirlpool of blood" in the region.
But Haniyeh objected to what he called Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The Hamas-led Palestinian government is expected to take power this week. The United States and the European Union have threatened to cut aid unless Hamas renounces violence and recognizes existing peace deals with Israel.
The United States and Europe classify Hamas as a terrorist group.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.