How Americans View the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

With this news from Axios:

these comments from Joe Biden during the latest Israeli actions against Palestinians in Gaza on May 20, 2021:

"In my conversation with President [Prime Minister] Netanyahu, I commended him for the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close within less than 11 days.  I also emphasized what I have said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.

The Prime Minister also shared with me his appreciation for the Iron Dome system, which our nations developed together and which has saved the lives of countless Israeli citizens, both Arab and Jew.  I assured him of my full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future…."

…and these comments on the existence of Israel during a press conference on May 21, 2021:

"And so, I don’t — and I think that, you know, my party still supports Israel.  Let’s get something straight here: Until the region says, unequivocally, they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace."

…a recent poll surveying American attitudes towards the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the Arab American Institute is particularly pertinent.  

The poll was conducted on May 20, 2021, the same day as Biden made his comments about backing Israel  and examined the attitudes of 1,011 Americans with the sample including the following demographics:

Here is a graphic showing the favourability of Israelis for key political demographics:

Here is a graphic showing the favourability of Palestinians for key political demographics:

Most significantly, Democrats view Palestinians in a more favourable light than Israelis (51 percent vs. 46 percent).  Liberals, as a whole, also view Palestinians in a more favourable light that Israelis (60 percent vs. 52 percent).  Nonetheless, there is a significant divergence by political affiliation with 46 percent of Democrats viewing Israelis in a positive light compared to 68 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents.  The same divergence occurs in how Palestinians are viewed with 51 percent of Democrats viewing Palestinians in a positive light compared to 30 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents.

Now, let's look at how Americans feel that the Biden Administration should conduct its policies toward Israel and Palestine:

Republicans and conservatives as a whole believe that the Biden Administration should favour the Israelis over the Palestinians by a 37 percent to 7 percent margin for Republicans and 40 percent to 7 percent for conservative voters. Republican (and conservative) voters are also less convinced that the Biden Administration should strike a balance between both sides of the conflict than their Democratic (and liberal) counterparts with 54 percent of Democrats believing in a balanced approach compared to only 34 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents.

As shown on this graphic, a far higher percentage of Republicans believe that the United States should always side with Israel than their Democratic counterparts:

Lastly, let's look at how Americans feel about the two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict:

Again, the views of Democrats and Republicans on the formal acknowledgement of a two-state solution are quite divergent.  While Americans of all political persuasions agree that a two-state solution is "the solution", only 38 percent of Republicans believe in the two-state solution compared to 60 percent of Democrats.  It is also interesting to note that there are a very significant percentage of Americans from all political persuasions that are unsure whether an independent Palestine is the best solution to the conflict.

In closing and given the Biden Administration's recent approval of the transfer of $735 million of precision munitions to Israel, here is a graphic showing how Americans feel about the transfer when asked whether they agree with the President or with Democrats who believe that the transfer should not take place at this time:

Rather surprisingly, far more Republicans than Democrats believe that the transfer should take place as Biden announced (42 percent of Republicans vs. 27 percent of Democrats) with just over half of Democrats (52 percent) believing that the Democrats who wish to postpone the sale are taking the right stance on the issue.

With president after president from both sides of the political spectrum attempting to solve the Middle East dilemma over the past seven decades, this analysis shows us that the current Democratic administration is going to find it nearly impossible to impose a solution on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, particularly given that a substantial portion of their base is now backing the Palestinian side of the conflict.

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