More Americans back US lean toward Israel over Palestinians, survey finds

Survey examines American public's attitudes toward Middle East conflict amid recent developments.

December 5, 2014 19:16
2 minute read.
mideast peace talks

News conference on peace talks at the State Department in Washington July 30, 2013.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

More Americans want the US government to lean toward Israel rather than the Palestinians in its foreign policy on the Middle East conflict, although a majority prefer Washington stay neutral in the matter, a recent poll found.

The survey examining the American public's attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid recent developments was presented on Friday by nonresident senior fellow Shibley Telhami at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington.

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While 31 percent of those surveyed said they were in favor of US support for Israel over the Palestinians, only 4% said they wanted the US government to push for the Palestinian cause over Israel's.

However, 64% of the poll's participants expressed that they did not want Washington to take a position partial to either side in particular.

Following the summer war between Israel and Hamas and with regard of the recent rise in violence, particularly in Jerusalem, the survey results indicated that the percentage of Americans who favor US backing of a two-state solution remains the same from 2013 at 39%.

Those who want the US to push for one state with equal citizenship for all residents increased by 10% from last year with 34% now in favor of that solution, the poll found.  

In regard to a UN resolution on Palestinian statehood, slightly more than a quarter of the pollsters said they would want the US to oppose such an endorsement, while exactly a quarter said they would support a US vote in favor of the move.

Nearly half (45%) of those asked recommended the United States abstain from any vote such a UN resolution.

While the Obama administration faces an array of issues on its slate of national interests, nearly 60% of American citizens rank the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the top five issues, according to the poll. At the same time, one in five Americans rank the Middle East conflict as one of their country's top or top three issues.

Turning toward other issues taking stage in the region, the poll found that a majority of Americans say violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to spur support for the Islamic State group.

The survey was conducted between November 14-Novbember 19, 2014 with a sample of 1,008 American adults. It was sponsored by the Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and has a margin of error of about 3.1%.

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