Poll: Israel More Popular, Peace More Remote

Israel's popularity with the American public is rising while that of the Palestinians is falling, according to a new Gallup Poll, but also rising is pessimism that they will ever be able to make peace.

"For the first time since 1991, more than 6 in 10 Americans — 63% — say their sympathies in the Middle East situation lie more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians. Fifteen percent side more with the Palestinians, down slightly from recent years, while a combined 23% favor both sides, favor neither side, or have no opinion."

The poll comes at a time when Washington and Jerusalem are mending rifts between their two leaders and the Palestinian Authority appears to be rejecting peace negotiations by its preconditions for sitting down with the Israelis and by its power-sharing agreement with the terrorist group Hamas.

The poll was taken a month ago.  The last time support for Israel was this high was in 1991 when Saddam Hussein was firing Scud missiles into the Jewish state during the Gulf War. 

Over the past decade, Gallup found a dramatic shift in partisan attitudes toward Israel: a 25 percent increase in sympathy among Republicans to 85 percent, compared to a slight drop among Democrats from 51 to 48 percent.  Sympathy for Israel vs. Palestinians among Independents has increased from 42 to 60 percent. 

Optimism about outlook for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians has been slowly dropping over the past five years; today only about 30 percent expect the two will be able to resolve their differences and live in peace

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.