Iranian nuclear reactor
Photo: AP
Israelis support US most
Photo: Index Open

Palestinians back Iran bomb

New poll shows Palestinians are number one supporters of Iran nuclear weapons; Israelis top supporters of US

Of 37 populations around the world, Palestinians rank first in their level of support for a nuclear-armed Iran, a new poll has revealed.


The survey, taken by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, found that 58 percent of the Palestinian public are in favor of Tehran acquiring atomic weapons, making Palestinians the only Middle Eastern population not opposed to an Iranian bomb.


"Most of the Muslim countries surveyed have negative or mixed opinions of Iran. Majorities among just three Muslim publics – in Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories – say they favor Iran acquiring nuclear weapons," the survey said.


The poll added that "positive views of Iran have declined sharply over the past year in three Muslim countries – Indonesia, Egypt, and, especially, Turkey."


When it came to attitudes towards the US, Israel and the Palestinians were placed, unsurprisingly, on opposite ends of the spectrum.


Only six percent of Palestinians expressed support for the US-led war on terror, the lowest of any population, while just 21 percent of Palestinians said they had positive feelings toward the American people, as opposed to American policies, the survey found.


"America's closest ally in the region, Israel, continues to have overwhelmingly favorable

views of the US. Nearly eight-in-ten Israelis (78 percent) give the US a positive rating," the research found.


"More than three-in-four Palestinians, Turks, Egyptians, and Jordanians express unfavorable opinions of the US. In fact, the United States receives a lower favorable rating (9 percent) in Turkey – a NATO ally – than in any country surveyed," the poll said.


It added that "one country in the region where attitudes toward the US have actually improved is Lebanon," where 47 percent of people held positive views of the US, a rise in recent years.


However, the fractured Lebanese society was deeply divided in its views on the US, the poll added, saying that Christians and Sunnis provided support for Washington, while Shiites were overwhelmingly anti-American.


'Culture of hatred and violence must be confronted'

Commenting on the poll, June Walker, chairperson of The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman, released a statement saying, "Israelis are America’s number one supporters in the world (outside of Africa), far ahead of the populations of Britain, Germany, Japan, and other close allies.


"Seventy-eight percent of Israelis have a favorable opinion of the US, which almost matches the figure for Americans with favorable opinions of the US (80 percent). Americans continue to show overwhelming support for Israel in its efforts to counter terrorism and threats to its security.


"The Pew Global Attitudes public opinion survey released today adds to the evidence of many previous opinion polls that show a special relationship between the American public and the Israeli public, a bond based on shared values and interests and reflected in the strong and consistent mutual support of the US and Israeli governments.”


The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 American Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern.


“By contrast," the statement continued, "the Palestinians are the number one supporters of a nuclear-armed Iran in the survey of 37 populations, with 58 percent of the Palestinian public in favor, and the only Middle Eastern population not opposed to an Iranian bomb.


"Only 6 percent of Palestinians support the US-led 'War on Terror,’ the lowest of any population, and only 21 percent of Palestinians have favorable feelings toward the American people, as opposed to US policies.


"The entire spectrum of America’s political leadership and the American people recognize Iran’s nuclear program and Islamic terrorism as major threats to the United States, Europe, our allies in the region, and our interests in the Middle East and around the world.


“While the US and Israel are working to strengthen the more moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority, the effect of the constant incitement in the media, mosques, and public statements by officials and in textbooks have led to these most disturbing results.


"It is equally troubling that 77 percent of Palestinians do not believe in coexistence with Israel. Instead, they appear to support Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’


"This culture of hatred and violence must be confronted by all ‘men and women of conscience’, as President Bush stated today in his important speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, including in the Palestinian Authority and in the Arab world.”


UK elites oppose Israel boycott

Meanwhile, a separate survey carried in Britain found that a clear majority of UK elites are opposed to boycotting Israel.


The survey was conducted by the Populus network for the Stop the Boycott campaign, which was initiated by the Fair Play Campaign Group (launched by the Board of Deputies), and BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.


According to the findings, released this week, some 86 percent of leading figures in the political, cultural, and business fields in Britain were against boycotting Israel.


Some 70 percent of respondents said a boycott would negatively affect Britain, and 84 percent of British academics and NGO employees said a boycott contradicted the principle of academic freedom, according to the survey.


פרסום ראשון: 06.28.07, 15:11
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