Most Americans doubt there will ever be peace between Israel and its neighbors, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
According to 48 percent of Americans, Israel responded proportionately in the conflict with Hizbullah, while 26 percent believed Israel’s response was exaggerated. With that, Americans continued to favor Israel, with 61 percent saying they supported the Zionist nation to some degree. Forty percent said they followed the regional conflict regularly in the media.
A majority supported the proposal to station an international peacekeeping force along the Israel-Lebanon border, but most preferred that US troops not participate in the mission.
The poll, which questioned 1,127 adults in the United States between July 21 and 25, as battles raged in south Lebanon, found that close to half of Americans approved of the Bush administration’s handling of the situation. However, most preferred the US leave the crisis for others to resolve.
The number of Americans who believed the US should not take a leading role in solving international conflicts stood at 59 percent, a significant rise since a 2002 poll when about half were of that opinion. Thirty-one percent believed that the US should take a leading role.
President George W. Bush scored a high approval rate for his handling of the Mideast crisis, with 47 percent supportive of his performance and 27 percent disapproving.
The American public was nearly evenly split on Bush’s staunch support of Israel, with 39 percent approving, 40 saying the US should not take a stance on the conflict, and 7 percent believing the US should criticize Israel.