A poll of Americans on attitudes to the Middle East core conflict found that half want the U.S. support Palestinians more. This shows that there is a growing divide among Democratic legislators.
According to The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, there are differences between the Republican and Democratic parties regarding the U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine. Liberal Democrats want more support for Palestinians while conservative Republicans want even greater support for Israel.
Survey respondents also gave their opinions on how the Biden administration handled the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The survey was done three weeks after the devastating 11-day war between Israel and Gaza Strip’s Hamas militant leaders. At least 254 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, and Israel lost 13 others.
According to the poll, Americans are split on U.S. policies toward Israel and Palestine. The poll also showed that more Americans disapprove of the approach of President Joe Biden to the conflict rather than applaud it.
51% of Democrats say that the U.S. does not support the Palestinians enough. This sentiment rises to 62% for Democrats who are liberal. However, 49% of Republicans believe the U.S. doesn’t support enough the Israelis. This number rises to 61% for those who consider themselves conservative.
Paul Spelce is 26 years old and a Democratic-leaning independent voter. He supports Palestinian statehood. Spelce is part of a deeply religious Texas Republican family, whose support of Israel is deeply rooted in their Christian faith. Spelce, a native of Austin, said he listened closely to the news about last month’s Gaza conflict and the U.S. reaction while delivering mail.
Spelce said that he had noticed a shift in his attention and disapproved of Biden’s handling of the conflict. He said that he believes the United States is too supportive for Israelis, but not enough for the Palestinians.
Spelce stated that he didn’t believe Biden’s word had been so strong. “And I don’t believe, you know. This administration… can actually accomplish anything” in relation to the conflict.
The poll results show that 29% of Americans think the U.S. is too supportive to Israel, 30% say it’s not supportive, and 36% agree with it. The U.S. approach to the Palestinians is divided as 25% believe it’s too supportive, 32% think it’s not supportive enough, and 37% agree it’s just right.
For decades, the United States has supported Israel with a broad but not uniform support. Biden did not criticize Israel for civilian deaths. Instead, he waited until the end of fighting last month before urging Israel to stop its airstrikes against Gaza’s heavily populated population.
This war exposed differences between Democratic lawmakers as well as between Biden and some Democratic lawmakers on Israel policy. Several Democrats in Congress called on Israel and Hamas for an immediate cease-fire, just days after Biden publicly did so. Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive Vermont Independent, called for the U.S. be more fair in its approach to the conflict.
According to the poll, 56% disapprove of how Biden handles the conflict. Only 40% approve. 35% of Democrats agree with Biden’s handling of the conflict. 75% of Republicans disagree with it.
ChrisTina Elliott (57), a Republican from Atlanta, Texas, stated that the new administration’s policies and its attitude toward Israel are “totally different” to President Donald Trump. She stated that she disagrees with Biden’s approach and believes the U.S. should support Israelis more than Palestinians.
Elliott stated that the Palestinians must put as much effort into peaceful relations as Israel. He also said of Israel, “My God! They’re surrounded with enemies.”
42% of liberal Democrats disapprove of the way Biden handles the conflict. This compares to 31% of conservative and moderate Democrats.
This compares to just 9% who disapprove of Biden’s job performance in general. Overall, Biden’s approval rating for his job is 55%.
Israel has been renamed , a new government. It says it wants to re-establish bipartisan support for Israel in the U.S. and repair relations with Democrats since the cease-fire. The former prime minister and long-serving member of the Israeli parliament, Benjamin Netanyahu, was openly challenging President Barack Obama and Biden on U.S. Middle East policy. He was also seen as an ally to Trump.
Both Republican and Democratic respondents to the survey cited the relatively short duration of the war. In comparison, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed in 50 days of fighting in 2014. They also praised Biden’s handling the conflict.
A poll found that only 19% Americans believe the U.S. should have a major role in resolving the conflict. However, 50% of Americans say the U.S. should have a minor role while 28% think it should not. The size of the U.S. involvement in the conflict is largely agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats.
The majority of Americans (57%), believe there is a way to allow Israel and a Palestinian independent state to coexist peacefully. 39% disagree. About 2/3 of Democrats believe there is a way. Republicans are divided with half saying that there is, and half saying that there isn’t.
Patrick Diehl, another Democratic-leaning Independent, said that the U.S. offered to rebuild Gaza buildings damaged by Israeli airstrikes. “So, I guess they can be destroyed again.” It seems a bit hapless to me.”
“You know, we need to take a stronger stand by the administration — pushing forward for actual change instead of continuing in this terrible situation,” stated Diehl, 74-year-old from Tucson, Arizona.