January 24th, 2009
02:05 PM ET
7 years 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. Empty inside

    Who ever supports 1200 or more people being killed, are sick in the head and that means a lot of people need to get their head examined. The support of any humane life 1 or 100,000,00 is a tragedy for the family and loved ones of that life cut short.
    War is a human sickness
    The bigger man would have found a differnt way to resolve the conflict, but it is obvious there is no bigger man in this picture.
    How will Peace come about now, you killed the family any surviving relative will always keep the resentment until they are able to get justice.
    I see no end in sight
    maybe one day , people will wake up and realize there is really a God and you are not it.
    Stop the killing

    January 24, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Tony

    He has already gone back on his own rule regarding lobbyists. Hope he's just not another politician. All talk, and no action!

    January 24, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Gal from NYC

    This is BS. Cnn is making this up in support of Isreal. CNN is Jewish owned hence biased.

    January 24, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Death of America by Obama

    obama should have been aborted.

    January 24, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. karen

    i feel the american people will always have a heart for the people any where in and in any other countries, all we want is peace not war my heart goes out to all the people and the innocent men, women, and children that suffers because of war , i pray it stops...

    January 24, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. bibi

    What do you expect? The one sided picture that has been portrait on the TV channels would make anyone a fan of Israel. Please tell the American people the true story. This is the Gaza holocaust that we are talking about, that is the only holocaust that I will remember now. The American forefathers have fought so hard to claim their lands. In the process they killed thousandths of British soldiers. Your men are hailed as heroes. Palestinian are fighting for their land and their freedom but they are called terrorists. USA is Israel's ally and is helping the aggressor and the occupier to slaughter innocent babies, children and garndmothers. The USA has just as much blood on its hand. Do not moan when we in the west will be attacked by suicide bombers. Who can blame these people? My Children will be in danger when travelling the world. Please show the american people these images of Gaza. The whole world is disgusted with Israel and the USA. Even other western countries cannot believe that the USA approved this but they are keeping quiet. Did one not notice that not one western country supported this action. People of America, if you have an open mind please go and find out the whole history of this issue and then let your voice be heard. This whole thing was a conspiracy between the USA and Israel which was being planned the moment Hamas was elected in Gaza. I hope that there are some good honest and responsible Americans out there. Research the facts.

    January 24, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. E Socrates

    No! I do NOT support the attacks Israel made against palestinians. Israel took land based on their religious belief.. same as we say "that in God we trust" as printed in the dollar bills. If Israel wants to have peace, then they should stop stealing land from the Palestinians who have always been there. Who would people react if someone would come saying that their God gave them the right for the land that it is not theirs? Isreal will be there forever and that is a fact. But, the palestinians have the right to have their own country and the jewish government don't want settle that because they get billions of our taxes.. and they think the USA should pay them so we could have a friend in that region. The Jewish country is exploiting us and we are using them.. There would be no problem in the Middele East if Israel leaves the West bank and allows the Palestinians build their own economic structure. My taxes are being used to kille palestinians because we are providing weapons to Israel. And to be honest.. Israel gives a rat's poop to the USA interests we supposedly have in the region.

    January 24, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. D.Ringold

    I will sure be glad when people finally understand the difference between the Israelis and the Israelites . I personally think all religions have the same GOD , the rest is just semantics. BUT, on that same token, I don't understand why so called Christians are always quick to back and get along with the Jewish side, the side who said the guy that the whole Christian religion was based on , doesn't even exist, and some would argue they killed him. But they don't get along with the Muslims, who at least acknowledge Jesus in the Quran, even if they don't say he was the son of God.

    January 24, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. madeleine Summers

    Your report's questioning of Palestinians about the American School Building bombing is putting these people's lives at risk. If they do not vociferously fully blame the Israelis for indiscriminate bombing and do not deny any building involvement in "military activity" such as storage of weapons, Hamas artillery fire from this location or gunmen using their school as cover, then they would be branded by their government as collaborators of Israel. They would be rounded up, tortured and possibly killed. Just ask Fatah members, that is if you can find any in Gaza who will dare to speak out.

    January 24, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. AZMan

    Geez, enough of the love-fest with Obama. How about waiting until he actually "does" something worth the public's admiration.. besides being black. Talk about a bunch mindless sheep..

    January 24, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. joe smith

    if that startling fact doesn't equate to a bias press, nothing does..

    January 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. klr

    Of course a majority of Americans support Israel; we receive lopsided information and coverage here from a biased and loaded media. The few domestic sources which report in a fair and balanced manner are outside of the mainstream. All one needs to do to see a different perspective is look at the many media sources operating in Europe and other areas outside of the United States. It is appalling and painful to witness the conditions under which Palestinians are reduced to living, yet perhaps if more Americans would take that extra step, we would be able to drop the blinders and urge our lawmakers to stop this humanitarian outrage.

    January 24, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Dem in HI

    It is so sad when people think it is okay to attack women and children in a just cause to get one person. What has happened to not endangering the lives of people. It is a crock that snipers are unable to take out the one and the press knows it. When I served in special forces, we were taught how to get the target without getting others. The Israelis are never justified in using attacks on schools, hospitals, hotels, or UN buildings. It makes me sick to watch this and the press just goes it is ok. WHAT IS WRONG with people. Trust me, snipers can get in and out with the right backing without these dumb attacks. Aerial attacks are for the press. All we are doing is providing the data for the thugs to attract more people. I am against the jerks that attack from schools, hospitals, hotels, and UN Buildings, but that does not give the justification for an air strike when there are other means to make sure that this does not happen again.

    January 24, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Scott

    While Israeli settlement in the West Bank is wrong and they need to give greater rights to Israeli-Arabs, the truth is that Israel deserves full support. It is the Palestinian side that refuses to compromise, Hamas that did not stop violence, large swaths of the Arab world that continues to deny Israel's right to exist, and the Arab world that finances terrorism and teaches its youth to hate Israel. When Palestinians truly want peace, they will find a reasonable partner. Until then, Israel is surrounded by those who would destroy her.

    January 24, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. P'Croft

    The Israeli government and military are guilty of numerous war crimes, the opinion of your sampling not withstanding. I agree the Israel and AIPAC are successful in influencing the news. As a nation we should be as ashamed of what has happened in Palestine as we should for not bombing the train tracks to concentration camps in WW II.

    January 24, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Larry

    Just shows that 6 in 10 Americans are not paying attention to the real facts of the War Crimes Israel is guilty of

    The crimes go all the way back to 1947

    Wake Up Americans !!!!

    January 24, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    What a crock....I am American and don't support Israel one iota. They already get all their arms, bomb, guns, from America. 5 Billion a year's worth. They're the new Nazis, pure and simple.

    January 24, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. T. Mckinley

    Imagine THIS scenario:

    An extremist militant group in Mexico positions rocket lanchers in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, and then begins firing rockets into San Diego and El Paso, killing scores of U.S. citizens.

    This militant group claims that the U.S. is occupying "Mexican territory." They claim that California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, etc. were "wrongfully stolen" from Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American war of the 1800's, and that these territories should be given back to Mexico immediately.

    This militant group not only wants to "liberate" what they consider to be "Mexican territory" from what they consider to be "U.S. occupation," but have also sworn that they will not rest until the United States has been completely destroyed and wiped off the face of the map.

    How do YOU think the U.S. would respond to such a situation?

    January 24, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Byron Wiemann

    Paul Steinhauser says most Americans support Israel? Is he Jewish or what? Geez, what a surprise....

    January 24, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Maggie SC

    Do not let the media lead you to think that only Republicans support Isreal's decsion to fire upon the Palestians. There are also Democrats, Independents and Muslins against what the Plalestians did first by firing on Isreal and breaking what peace efforts that exsisted. Wha shouldn't the Isreales retaliate against those people destroying what they have rebuilt and rebuilt over and over through the years. The Isreales are very industroust people and the PLO resent that becasue they rather destroy that build. Both peoples love their families and why should the Isreales do nothing and let theri people be killed. We have many supporters here in the US that feel if they are fired upon and their homes destroyed and their loved ones killed then it is only human nature to protect and fight back. The problem so may years ago was that the Jews just did not fight back and that is one reason so may were carted off by the Natzis and killed. But then again the Natzis did theri dirty work in secret untill they were able to gather thousands of Jews and overcome theri resistance. Whay shouldn't they fight back now.

    January 24, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. AIPAC spinmasters in full swing!

    CNN proves to be the mouthpiece of AIPAC and neo-cons!

    January 24, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Maggie SC

    I think that in either situation wheatehr Palestians or Isrealies needing aid it should be given but why does it allwayas have to be our money? If they want aid they should not continue to bomb, kill and destroy, The palestians know this and every time there is a time of peace they have to insist on destroying it by first bombiong Isreal. Why should they be helped over na dover again and again.

    January 24, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. NICK

    I think Hamas needs a lesson in basic arithmetic. Israel lost 13 people, while Hamas 1300, and they claim "victory" they are a joke.

    January 24, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    If Hamas had not been firing missles into Isreal they would have not had Isreal finally act. Now if they try to start this again, they will be hosting the Isreali military again, and next time it will be worse.

    Would anyone here in our country allow another country to fire missles here and to harm and kill our citizens...Not a chance!

    Isreal finally had to put a stop to continuous missle attacks by Hamas, who started it because Hamas wants to destroy Isreal.

    Hamas is a terrorist organization, no matter if they put up schools and other things.All they have brought is death and destruction to the people.

    Before anyone blames Isreal for this war, just remember who started it by attacking them first. This was provoked by Hamas, not Isreal.

    January 24, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Tom in CA

    ...even so, the Arab street will make things uncomfortable should President Obama follow Bubba W's path.

    January 24, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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