November 19th, 2012
10:56 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: 57% of Americans say Israeli attacks in Gaza are justified

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans say that Israel's current military strikes against Gaza are justified, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates that 57% of the public says Israel is justified in taking military action in Gaza against Hamas, with one in four saying the attacks are unjustified.

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The fighting began last week with rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza, to which Israel responded with an aerial offensive. Palestinian emergency services said Monday that nearly 100 people have been killed in Gaza, with around 750 injured. The Israel Defense Forces said three people in Israel have been killed, with nearly 70 injured.

The fighting has raised fears of a widening conflict, and the possibility of a repeat of Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza following similar rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel.

"Although most Americans think the Israeli actions are justified, there are key segments of the public who don't necessarily feel that way," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only four in ten Democrats think the Israeli actions in Gaza are justified, compared to 74% of Republicans and 59% of independents. Support for Israel's military action is 13 points higher among men than among women, and 15 points higher among older Americans than among younger Americans."

According to the survey, nearly six in ten say their sympathies are with the Israelis, with 13% saying they side more with the Palestinians and 11% saying their sympathies are with neither side in the conflict.

"That's nothing new," added Holland. "The number of Americans who sympathize more with the Palestinians has never been higher than 18% since the question was first asked in 1988. Sympathies for Israel have sometimes dipped below 50%, but have been over that mark for the past eight years."

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. tofa

    I think the comments posted here tell it all.....and it is the real poll

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. BD

    Anyone who sees this a simple question of one side kicking the other side out of its land (be it the Jews or Palestinians) because of some historic basis needs to learn some history. The truth is that both the Jews and the Arabs (some of whom are the ancestors of the modern Palestinians) have possessed the land at various times in history, usually transitioning because of conflict and conquest.

    The reality of the situaiton on the ground means a lot more however, this won't be solved by one side capitulating to the other based on historic demands. It will only be resolved through negotiated settlement confronting the realities of the situation, which in my humble opinion is something that Hamas is not prepared to do. The Israelis have repeatedly said they would go to the negotiating table without anything having been taken off, its Hamas and Fatah that require preconditions (which is pretty dumb if you ask me when your people are suffering the kind of economic and social hardship the palestinians are). You can argue its statemanship and they are holding out for a stronger negotiating position but I peronally believe thats a travesty when your people are living in abject poverty and an alternative is available.

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Avi Shlomo

    Due to extensive travel the past few days, I've been subjected to far more television news coverage than is probably healthy, and it's just been staggering to see how tilted US media discourse is: Israeli officials and pro-Israel "experts" are endlessly paraded across the screen while Palestinian voices are exceedingly rare; the fact of the 45-year-old brutal occupation and ongoing Israeli dominion over Gaza is barely mentioned; meanwhile, every primitive rocket that falls harmlessly near Israeli soil is trumpeted with screaming headlines while the carnage and terror in Gaza is mentioned, if at all, as an afterthought. Two cartoons perfectly summarize this coverage: here and here.
    ilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has an Op-Ed in today's Jerusalem Post in which, among other things, he writes [emphasis added]:

    "We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn't stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren't surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

    "There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing."

    So this murderous regime is built of the destruction of Palestine. Imagine if such a statement were made by an Arab officla or a white angl Saxo for that matter.
    Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch today went to Twitter to announce: "Obama [is] making excellent statements on Israeli situation."
    Obama's silence is indicative he supports the people who bought him vote so he could serve israel fo r4 more years ' See the list of his big donors"

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. imrightalways

    Get it right CNN it started day after election when Israel said they were gonna start building more settlements again Hamas responded with an untargeted home made rocket and Israel bombed an unprotected population that they control what they can and can't get and watch every movement of everyone and don't care if they eradicate the people in Gaza. Its a show so the people don't fill like there tax dollars are wasted "look are bombs and planes are pretty oh so pretty" "your money at work" way to go Israeli's

    November 19, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Name

    Of course they do, most of them are christian zionists who dont understand that they are worshipping the same people who hate their guts.

    November 19, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. M Brownstein

    @S Lee.
    You have no clue what you're talking about.
    Hmm didn't we slaughter thousands of native Americans to gain this land???

    November 19, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. GEN. BETRAYUS..WHOOPS....PETREUS

    CNN, where's the story of "Anonymous" launching a cyberwar on Israel? Anonymous stated: "It has come to our attention that the Israeli government has ignored repeated warnings about the abuse of human rights, shutting down the internet in Israel and mistreating its own citizens and those of its neighboring countries." Anonymous has released information on 5,000 Israeli government officials.

    November 19, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. cho

    Why do liberals support a group that wants us dead? Maybe if their family is wiped out by Hamas they'll change their tune. Apparently thats what needs to happen.

    November 19, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Sam s

    Israel is the REAL terrorist "state". Killing Babies and women in Gaza. American sympathize with "Israel" because of the stupid media that doesn't cover what happening in Gaza.

    November 19, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. ChuckC.

    If I have to choose, of course I support Israel. Hamas wants all us non-believers killed while Israel is more than willing to tolerate us all. But I'm afraid its going to take a nuclear bomb over Tel-Aiv in order for Israel to justify the 'final solution' to their problem. Hamas will never give up in my opinion. This is a religious war, and they never really end. What I was expecting was a strike at Iran, not an assasination of a Hamas leader. One side says Iran is testing Israels military, the other side is claiming its Israels war preparation. But it’s all about territory. Both sides says its their land and both sides have proof positive that God/Allah gave it to them to keep. And we all know that it if god gives you something, you can justify any action necessary and in any way you want, to keep it.

    The Palestinians are the losers and Hamas is their desperate last grasp at trying to hold onto what they think is theirs. All they have left is to keep the Israeli’s living in terror on hopes of scaring them away with their rockets, and the few hard liners that are stupid enough to strap bombs onto themselves. Nobody really owns land, and only superior firepower allows you to keep it. Nobody is going to sit around and let someone else try to kill you. I predict another week or so of selective bombing, then a quick sweep thru Gaza should clean out the rockets for a bit of time. Just be ready to have all the Gaza women and children kill in the process to be displayed for the world to see. I support Israel. Hamas and their allies are the real monsters, but sadly I don't think for a minute that Israel are the good guys.

    November 19, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. RebeccaBbrivka

    Know why the deaths & injuries stats are lopsided? Because all of Southern Israel has spend its funds on concrete bomb shelters. It is a daily routine to be running for shelter. Wo can live with that? As for Gaza, the Hamas strategy never changes. They do not take measures to protect their people. They set up family living rooms to launch rockets. Works every time because US & Europe will fill their coffers with money after it is all over and rebuild. But of course most of the donations will be used to buy more arms to keep the conflict going. Israel has always been used as the hate-focused scapegoat so people in Arab countries don't focus on their own plight.

    November 19, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. JonfromLI

    Of course they're justified. Most Americans are smart enough to be aware of the situation; without putting on the blinders as the UN would do. ISRAEL ONLY TARGETS THE MILITANT AREAS OF GAZA. While it's unfortunate that so many civilians have been among the casualties; WHAT ARE THEY DOING LIVING IN THE VICINITY OF THE MILITANTS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Hamas sends off rockets directing at only civilians areas of Israel because they don't have the balls to face the IDF head on.

    November 19, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Janissa

    I'm with Sheila and al on this one.

    November 19, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. thetruth

    The war is all about religion . WAKE UP PEOPLE... If u r not a Muslim you r an enemy to them. They want all Jewish and Christians dead.

    November 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. NameDavid

    I am not sure what we have become as humans. We find it more justified for Israel to defend itself but find it okay for the Palestinian to be kept in isolation. We are saying they have no right to fight for sovereignty. Hamas continue to send rockets to Israel because this is their only way to bring attention to their plight. Diplomacy doesn't work for them, if so they would have had a state decades ago before Israel began encroaching to further their occupancy. I don't know what human would allow this type aggression with no one in the world to stop this. You have to ask yourself, how bad does it have to be for humans to commit suicide to fight rather than use diplomacy. If you visit gaza you will see why. It's the poorest and most populated area in the world. What we call terrorist are called freedom fighters in the areas of oppression. You must ask what are the rights of the Palestinian people. No one is fighting for them, so they have to use rocks against a heavy handed aggressor. Just because theres a seize fire doesn't mean the aggression policies have seize. There is but so much a human will tolerate in being cornered and left to be imprisoned in those conditions you find in gaza. All humans are created equal!

    November 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. tkindsm

    No county in this world today came to be without "taking" from others. Welcome to being human. All we can do is look ahead and try to be better people NOW and in the future. Looking back will only cause hatred and needless bloodshed. If everyone looked back, every person in the world could claim rights to a million other injustices their ancestors endured.

    November 19, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Barbara-Northern Michigan

    the world is doomed when you read the hatred in these comments.

    If you have kids, I feel sorry for you and them.

    Man is doomed when he is so hateful towards his fellow man.

    Simple as that...

    November 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. imrightalways

    What you want Israel to blow up the nuke they have in tel Aviv sounds like a fun time in sure that'll let them get themselves so breathing room from there soon to be occupied neighbors

    November 19, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Omair

    Because U.S runs by a Jewish think tank and both U.S and Israel are the biggest terrorist nations.

    November 19, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Enough is Enough

    Americans don't support the expansion of illegal settlements and the building of new ones stolen land and the Warsaw ghetto conditions in Gaza imposed by Israel. Stop aid to Israel.

    November 19, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. jp of arlington

    Anyone that would support Hamas, and/or the palestinians, is either brain dead or a terrorist supporter.

    November 19, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Barbara-Northern Michigan

    everyone, go find the nearest oak tree and hug it.

    It is time for the Druids to make a comeback and renew this crazy world!

    Don't laugh! Try it for youself!

    November 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Steve

    Isreal got free land to start a country. It should be up to them to compensate the people living there.

    November 19, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Rea

    I don't "support" either side, they BOTH are to blame and until each are willing to work toghter this fighting and killing will continue. Much like we have become here in the u.s. I'm tried of all the fighting the world over. Just nu*k the world and be done with it. Our kids aren't going to know peice or prosperity no matter where they live or how good of an eduction they have.

    November 19, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Ray

    I think israel is showing off there toy because they know the palastiniens have none .its wrong how they got the nerves to say that they are the victims world wide when time and time again we see how they abuse others yet they cry when they are abused????

    November 19, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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