January 24th, 2009
02:05 PM ET
6 months ago

Majority of Americans support Israel during crisis, says poll

An Israeli soldier sits on his armored personnel carrier Tuesday, after pulling out of Gaza.
An Israeli soldier sits on his armored personnel carrier Tuesday, after pulling out of Gaza.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that six in ten Americans sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the recent fighting in Gaza, and most believe that Israel's initial decision to take military action against Hamas was justified.

Sixty percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday say they sympathize with Israelis, with 17 percent backing the Palestinians.

The poll was conducted while Israel was still taking military action in Gaza, so it does not reflect how Americans feel about the recent cease-fire in Gaza. But 63 percent of those questioned do think that Israel's initial military action was justified, with three in ten saying it was not justified.

Earlier: Rival factions trade accusations of spying, violence in Gaza

"Republicans are most likely to see Israel's military action as justified. Three-quarters of GOP respondents felt that way," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "But even among Democrats, 52 percent felt Israel was justified compared to 40 percent who felt the action in Gaza was unjustified."

Forty-three percent think the amount of military force used by Israel was about right, with 38 percent saying it was too much and 14 percent feeling it was too little.

Israel announced Wednesday that it completed the withdrawal of its troops from Gaza after a three-week military campaign against Hamas, which rules the territory. Israel said it had achieved its goals, which were to halt the firing of rockets into southern Israel from Gaza.

Earlier: Obama: U.S. will actively seek Middle East peace

But Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that's controlled the territory since 2007, also declared victory. More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the fighting, according to authorities on both sides, since the conflict began in late December.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 12-15, with 1,245 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Middle East
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Justin Time

    In the following quote, you can see from a reliable source that America is shipping more phosphorous chemical cluster weapons, banned by international treaty, to the inhuman, cruel children-killing monsters currently running Israel...

    ... but Israel complains about "gun smuggling" tunnels by Hamas? Hypocrisy.

    They love to rain down illegal chemical weapons on innocent families and frightened children in a crowded city. With this shipment, they will have their bellies full of joy in the killing fields of Gaza, just like Hitler used to do in the Warsaw Ghetto. He enjoyed it.

    Israel has become savage, cruel, barbaric and inhuman.

    --- QUOTE FROM AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ON CNN SITE -
    "Amnesty International says the UN Security Council must act now and impose an immediate, comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in Gaza to prevent any further flow of arms to the warring parties.

    “We know that the Wehr Elbe, a German-owned cargo ship, left the USA on 20 December 2008 with a large consignment – 989 containers – of high explosives and other munitions,” said Malcolm Smart. “Hired and now legally controlled by the US Military Sealift Command, it is destined for the Israeli port of Ashdod and was due to transit via Greece, though its latest reported position indicates that the shipment’s route may have changed.”

    Tenders for two other arms shipments totalling 325 containers of US munitions were approved by the Pentagon on 31 December, four days after the start of Israel's current attacks on targets in Gaza.

    These two consignments were due to be shipped to Ashdod, Israel, from Astakos in Greece, but that particular tender has now been cancelled, according to information provided to Amnesty International by the US Military Sealift Command.

    Tender documents show that these shipments contain white phosphorous, known for its potential to cause severe burns and an indiscriminate weapon when used as an airburst in densely-populated civilian areas as now alleged in Gaza.

    The US Department of Defence says it is now looking at other means to deliver the munitions to a US stockpile in Israel. A US-Israel agreement has allowed US munitions stockpiled in Israel to be transferred to the Israeli Defence Force in "an emergency."

    January 24, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Alicia

    I KNOW this will NOT get posted. Everyone I know is appalled at Israel!!!!

    January 24, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Simon Cleary

    Americans mostly support Israel, but Obama does not. He thinks he can please everyone in the world (what an idiot!!), especially Muslim buddies.

    January 24, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Alan

    Yeah and an even higher percentage supported the war in IRAQ. Now of course over 90 percent of Americans did not support the war nor did they vote for BUSH, yet he won twice. The American people's support of anything is very shallow!!!

    January 24, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Matt

    If there were a better and more balanced flow of information coming into the United States more people would support the Palestinians. Israel is using CHEMICAL WEAPONS on innocent civilians. They need to be stopped for doing the same things Saddam did, except even more obvious!

    January 24, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. danel

    I wonder if these polls were taken in New York State of Florida? People are not really reading or watching the news of whats going on in Gaza due to the press blockade by the Israeli government. Most of the press in America are bias anyway favoring Israel.

    January 24, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Logical

    Well what do you folks expect .... CNN & the rest of the MSM .... always portray ... Israel as the good guys (Victims) & the rest of the Middle East as the Bad Guys (Oppressors/Suppressors) even when Israel is at fault ... The J**s own the whole media ... so I'm not surprised ...

    Yes moderator .... flag this post ... any form of criticism to Israel is seen as anti-Semite ... Time for you folks to be objective in your covering & stop being one-sided ........

    January 24, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. somewhat apalled

    hamas is not correct in killing innocent civilians to reach a goal. it is an inhumane, immoral act which goes against the quintessential elements of true islam.

    however, isreal should take the blame of a completely non-proportional counter attack against hamas. it seems somewhat unethical on the part of isreal to kill over 300 for the 20+- people hamas have killed.

    January 24, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Zion

    In my mind, this poll is meaningless due to the lack of information concerning the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Notice I put Israeli first because they are normally the aggressors. I know Hamas is in the wrong, but Israel is equally at fault for their inhumane behavior. We need a balanced policy that will ultimately prevent Hamas from having political clout within this region. Also, a two-sided policy will prevent the Zionist terrorist movement from flourishing.

    January 24, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Reid

    I don't believe CNN's poll. I would like to think that most Americans don't approve of the slaughter of Palestinians because Jews want all Palestinian territory.

    January 24, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Bob

    Millions of Americans also can't locate their own country on a map...

    January 24, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Paul DObro

    Goes to show how media coverage in the US is biased toward Isreal. The one bomb dropped in Gaza killing a Hamas leader, his 3 wives and 7 kids was larger then ALL the misilles combined power fired from Gaza into Isreal.

    Isreal kills over 1,200 people including over 600 females and children, they roll over the impoverished Gaza using mutli-million dollar militry equipment mainly supplied from the US.

    And 60% of people sympathize with Isreal? Try watching the BBC or even a muslim media outlet and get the real story. The US media controlled mainly by jewish money is not giving the real story.

    January 24, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. mike

    Of course, when you have the second most powerful lobby in Washington (AIPAC), and friends inside politics and the press, you can get by.

    January 24, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. justin

    I am pretty sure 9/11 was duly justified for US's unconditional unilateral support for Israel. It seems most americans have not waken up yet. Another 9/11 most likely would be seen as justified in the same.

    what a Shame.

    January 24, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. malabar

    sarah palin

    January 24, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. Joe Green

    Hamas are cowards, hiding among children to try to make Israel look bad.

    January 24, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    you must be kidding! The entire world is protesting against the atrocities comitted by Israelis.

    January 24, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Haifa

    West Bank and Gaza should regain the territories it had from 1949 to 1967 and they should unite and form a nation called Palestine which will have its independence, sovereignty & international recognition.

    January 24, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Murad Ashraf

    IT IS STRONGLY VIEWED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC THAT AMERICANS GETS ONLY "FILTERED" INFROMATION AS REGARDS ISRAEL AND PALESTINE. Try changing your quetion to "ARE THE KILLING OF 1400 PEOPLE INCLUDING 400 INNOCENT CHILDREN JUSTIFIED IN ANY MILATARY OPERATION" Try showing even a hand full of pictures of gaza's dead children and than try to get an answer.Best part is that you can kill as many as you want and still BLAME the OTHER side...
    Use of banned weapons, trageting civilians , building fortifeid wall in an attempt to "quarantine" people, humilating checkpoints, guns aimed at children 24/7........ hmmm .. does'nt it remind you of Jewish Ghaettos in WWII......
    All countries have a right to defend themselves , BUT never like this!!!
    If Hamas is a EVIL so is Israel Defence Force.... because bith kill innocent peolple and rejoice in Public Support and a "JUST CAUSE".

    January 24, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. David Hutchinson

    If this is indeed true I am ashamed for America. I cannot believe that the murdering of about 2000 civilians is something that Americans can live with. Israel is clearly wrong in it's offensive/defensive moves against Gaza. Isn't it bad enough we sponser Israel with billions of dollars and provide Israel with the weapons and technology to overwhelmingly overpower Gaza making a statement against Hamas. How can you sleep knowing that most of the bullets, mortors and rockets probably came from America or used American technology. I for one do not side with Israel and they will most likely be recieving retaliation from the Arab states and the same barbarism will be turned back on them.

    January 24, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. Lee in Ohio

    Instinctively, I support Israel's right to defend its' citizens against the Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. In that respect, I view Israel's military action against this terrorist organization as quite justified. At the same time, I feel deep sadness for the many Palestinian citizens who, through no fault of their own, have lost their lives in this latest middle east slaughter. What a terribly sad situation. The leaders of the world community desparately need to make finding a permanent solution to the carnage in "The Promised Land" a priority.

    January 24, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. David Hutchinson

    This poll has to be wrong. It is our billions of dollars and technology that are killing innocent men, women and sadly children. It is our bullets that are killing those people in Gaza. Count me as one who doesn't side with people who won't compromise and really look for peace. I feel Israel doesn't.

    January 24, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Carol

    I am sorry, I am sure I will get a lot of flak for this, but it must be said...
    Does the world not see what's going on over there, the Palestinians have been "WALLED IN and their every move has been controlled since the 50s ....They deserve to live as free as everyone else in the world, come and go as they please and when they please...I definitely do not think these Hamas people shooting rockets over those WALLS is right at all, and that should be stopped ... yes ... But, I honestly think the Israelis need to step back and look at the similarities because they are frightening ...Its very similar sort of a mix of our CIVIL WAR and our CIVIL RIGHTS Movements and fightI am sorry, I am sure I will get a lot of flak for this, but it must be said...
    Does the world not see what's going on over there, the Palestinians have been "WALLED IN and their every move has been controlled since the 50s ....They deserve to live as free as everyone else in the world, come and go as they please and when they please...I definitely do not think these Hamas people shooting rockets over those WALLS is right at all, and that should be stopped ... yes ... But, I honestly think the Israelis need to step back and look at the similarities because they are frightening ...Its very similar sort of a mix of our CIVIL WAR and our CIVIL RIGHTS Movements and fights .. I am sure the Israeli government knows how many Palestinians have died since the 50s, I would love to know, I mean dang this little 2 week one killed, last count I head was 1500 men women and children ....That's terrible, we have finally gotten rid of our tyrant, maybe Israeli's need a CHANGE like we just got with PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA , We have hope again, many of my friends feel like our futures looks fantastic, we haven't had it for 8 years and its been scary, our government seemed to have lost their collective minds.. they still haven't given us real numbers on how many civilians have been killed or died as a result of our invasion of Iraq ... But I am sure its nearing a million .... It will be our nations great shame ...Maybe I am being too harsh but that's what we see over here...Millions of people being WALLED IN and totally controlled, of course they are going to REBEL against that, any human would.... And if something isn't done FINALLY. it will NEVER stop ... Each generation will grow up as the kids that have survived a war with HATE filled hearts for lost relatives homes etc...
    Tear down the walls, do nation wide round up of the Hamas and Hezbula gangsters and start treating them like the MORONS and MONSTERS they are and not EVERY Palestinian, put them on trial, and WALL and FENCE in the REAL criminals ....It breaks my heart seeing the children men and women from both sides, so many wars between you two and you are brothers and sisters ....all your wars so many hurt so many lost ... You guys have got to figure this out , stop treating EVERYONE like CRIMINALS, start loving each other and treating one another like the FAMILY that we all are ....I think that maybe ISRAEL might need to go through something similar to our CIVIL RIGHTS STUFF , another horrible time in our history, but we are now where we are with President Barack Obama ...We had to suffer through 8 years of BUSH ... but now I see why ... We would have never really realized how bad we needed President Obama ... and we do ... Israel needs their BARACK... And I pray for peace for both sides ..s ..I am sure the Israeli government knows how many Palestinians have died since the 50s, I would love to know, I mean dang this little 2 week one killed, last count I head was 1500 men women and children ....That's terrible, we have finally gotten rid of our tyrant, maybe Israeli's need a CHANGE like we just got with PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA , We have hope again, many of my friends feel like our futures looks fantastic , we havent had it for 8 years and its been scary, our government seemed to have lost their collective minds.. they still havent given us real numbers on how many civilians have been killed or died as a result of our invasion of Iraq ... But I am sure its nearing a million .... It will be our nations great shame ...Maybe I am being too harsh but thats what we see over here...Millions of people being WALLED IN and totally controlled, of course they are going to REBELL against that , any human would.... And if something isnt done FINALLY .it will NEVER stop ... Each generation will grow up as the kids that have survived a war with HATE filled hearts for lost relatives homes etc...
    Tear down the walls, do nation wide round up of the Hamas and Hezbula gangsters and start treating them like the MORONS and MONSTERS they are and not EVERY Palisteinian, put them on trial , and WALL and FENCE in the REAL criminals ....It breaks my heart seeing the children men and women from both sides , so many wars between you two and you are brothers and sisters ....all your wars so many hurt so many lost ... You guys have got to figure this out , stop treating EVERYONE like CRIMINALS , start loving each other and treating one another like the FAMILY that we all are ....I think that maybe ISRAEL might need to go through something similar to our CIVIL RIGHTS STUFF , another horrible time in our history, but we are now where we are with President Barack Obama ...We had to suffer throught 8 years of BUSH ... but now I see why ... We would have never really realized how bad we needed President Obama ... and we do ...Israel needs their BARACK... And I pray for peace for both sides ..

    January 24, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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