[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/24/art.gaza.gi.jpg caption="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.
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"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.
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.