WASHINGTON - According to an annual poll conducted by Gallup, 59 percent of Americans support Israel, the highest percent of support since the first Gulf War. The support for the Palestinians, however, has decreased to 15 percent following Hamas' victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
The poll indicates that the majority of Americans oppose the granting of economic aid to the Palestinians. Apparently, the average American’s support for Israel rises the more he or she are in tune with global events.
Expectations for Middle East peace have dropped in the U.S. since Hamas’ elections victory, with most Americans contending the U.S. should maintain diplomatic relations with the Palestinians only if they recognize Israel’s right to exist.
According to the poll, two out of three Americans believe the Arab countries will never agree to live in peace beside Israel; 44 percent say diplomatic relations with the Palestinians should continue only if Hamas recognizes Israel, while 22 percent believe talks should be held with the organization in any case.
The poll shows that 57 percent of Americans oppose the granting of economic aid to the Palestinians; 30 percent said they would support aid should the Palestinians recognize Israel, and only 5 percent said they back monetary assistance to the Palestinians regardless of their position on Israel.
'U.S. is a great friend and ally'
Support for Israel in the U.S. was higher (64 percent) only during the Gulf War in 1991, when Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel. On the eve of the latest war in Iraq support for Israel climbed to 58 percent. Support for the Palestinians reached a new high of 18 percent in the last two years, but currently dropped to 15 percent.
American support for the Palestinians dropped to an all-time low of seven percent in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
According to the Gallup poll, 77 percent of Republicans support Israel, as opposed to only 50 percent of Democrats. Americans who follow the news tend to support Israel more than those who are not as in tune with global affairs by a ration of 66 to 59 percent.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Ayalon responded to the poll by saying that “the findings prove once again that the U.S. is a great friend and ally of Israel, not only with regards to the decision-makers in Washington but to the American public from coast to coast.”