'Key to ME conflict resolution is mutual recognition'

US poll finds that large majority of Americans see conflict between Israelis and Palestinians as based on religion and ideology rather than land.

middle east reservoir dogs 311 (photo credit: AP)
middle east reservoir dogs 311
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON – A large majority of Americans see the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians as based on religion and ideology rather than land, with the key to peace being mutual recognition, according to a new Israel Project poll.
Those surveyed described Israel as the side more committed to peace, though a historic high also saw the Palestinians as truly desiring peace.
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Sixty-three percent of those surveyed agreed that recognition was crucial to resolving a conflict that’s “mostly about religion and ideology,” with just 32% saying that “figuring out how to divide the land they share, establish borders, and address Jerusalem” were the essential points in a conflict based on land claims. Six percent said they didn’t know or wouldn’t answer.
Nearly the same percentage chose Israel as the party more committed to peace, with only 11% selecting the Palestinians.
Yet when asked simply whether the Palestinians were committed to peace, 40% said they were – the highest proportion since The Israel Project first asked the question in March 2008. Forty-six percent said they weren’t.
By contrast, 58% said that the Israelis were committed to peace, with 29% saying they weren’t.
“American voters want to see each side recognize each other’s right to exist,” TIP head Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said of the results. “Americans want to see lasting peace.”
Overall, Americans’ support for Israel over the Palestinians dropped slightly this year, even though an increasing number of respondents said the US should support the Jewish state.
The Israel Project poll found that 56% of Americans said they backed Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians, with just 9% saying they supported the latter. Israel supporters were down from by some three percentage points over the past year, while those backing Palestinians increased by 3%.
Mizrahi, however, noted that the difference was within the margin of error, which for the latest poll was +/- 3.5%.
At the same time, 58% said the US “should be” a strong supporter of Israel in the ongoing conflict, versus only 34% who said the same thing for the Palestinians.
The poll of 800 likely voters was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner September 9- 12, just after the first round of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were held.