November 19th, 2012
10:56 AM ET
10 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. elena

    The only reason why Americans support Israel is because they too are the descendants of invaders who came here exterminated the natives and stole their land, now they have to support their likes!

    November 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Paolo Rossi

    Why do we even care about Israel. What makes them so special?

    November 19, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. S Lee

    Screw Israeli, Before you take their side look back and see how they came to be. How they murdered Muslims and look there land after the British left. they dont deserve anything.

    November 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Cheesehead

    If we showed the images of all the children being killed by Israeli bombs, I think the numbers would be reversed.

    November 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Any country has a right to defend itself should it come under violent attack. But, the reasoning and motive behind these attacks on Israel are a result of their settlement policies over the past decade under the GWB administration. Bush's was the FIRST administration to never, not ever, once tell Israel "no" to settlement building. Not once.

    The Hamas government is a direct result of those misguided and short sighted policies. Israel kicked the more peaceful elements to the curb, the ones who were willing to negotiate. The settlement building empowered the more radical and violent elements by building settlements, and never reaching any sort of movement towards peace.

    The current wave of attacks was the only possible outcome from a decade of misguided policies.

    November 19, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. WGNY

    This one is a no-brainer.

    You can feel free to support Israel. You can even feel free to support the PLO and the Palestinians who are caught in the cross-fire but you can ABSOLUTELY NOT support HAMAS unless you a cold-hearted genocidal maniac.

    After decades of playing the victim, the WORLD is saying " The jig is up! " We know you aim your missiles haplessly, we know you have nothing to OFFER at the peace table. Israel has conceded time and again (whether large or small) and YOU have not changed. HAMAS believes that Israel only understands violence but what they project unto others seems to be what they themselves understand.

    November 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. gee

    BB needs to disappear.

    November 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. thetruth

    R u kidding ... acourse Israel has every right to attack Hamas wake up people they r terrorist .

    November 19, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. BubblesB

    Reports keep mentioning the Palestinian civilians who are injured or killed, but not the Israeli civilians injured or killed.
    Do we honestly expect Israel to lay down and take it? As long as rockets are fired into Israel, Israel should fire back.
    Eventually someone will cry "Uncle" and my bet is that it won't be Israel.

    November 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Religion is OfMan

    It's a matter of time that all Islamic countries in the Middle East will once again attack Israel at the same time - perhaps, including Pakistan and Iran. Sorry, but tell me an Islamic country without armed conflict and terrorism. Don't say Indonesia and don't say the Philippines (where less than 5% of the population are muslims - and 80% of the armed conflicts)

    November 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. vb2cville

    Why do most Americans side with the Israelis rather than the Palestinians? Perhaps they remember as well as I do, the live shots of Palestinians dancing in the streets when they heard of the slaughter in Manhattan on 9/11. This American is of the majority; I have no sympathy for the Palestinians whatsoever. The reader who observed the following is either naive or misguided:

    "Israel has a well-funded lobby that propagandizes America to gain continued support for their high-handed tactics and abuse. The poll numbers show how well that massive propaganda machine has worked."

    November 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Sheila

    The US backing Israel over Palestine based on the idea that Israel has a divine right to the land is the ultimate betrayal of the separation of church and state. We should not side with either side. They have been fighting over the rights to the same land for thousands of years. Let them fight it out and settle it themselves. If Palestine wins, so be it. Israel can keep fighting, or go find themselves another promised land. It is not our business.

    November 19, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. al

    Maybe we should just stay out of it. I don't know for sure but it is really getting old listening to these two groups go back and forth and never seeing or hearing about any progress. I have no love for Hammas but also realize that Israel is not innocent either. Both of them need to quit fighting and start figuring out how to get alons.

    November 19, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Anonymous

    oh ya. CNN! Rush in with the SUPPORTIVE POLL . Nice Game

    November 19, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. walkingfan

    What a suprise! The one-sided reporting from the media is much to blame for this. No one can actually get a correct assessment of the situation.

    November 19, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Sharon

    Fifty seven percent of Americans. Look, I am a single mom, Hispanic. I am also a Christian. I have a taken a few courses in a school of ministy class last year. If you're a Christian, you're supposed to support Isreal. It was prophezied in the latter books of the Old Testament that because the Messiah was coming and the Jews would reject him because of this they would dispersed around the world but in the end, God would return them back to their land. We saw this happen in May of 1946. But then I've seen documentaries on the revival of Zionism. I've seen how Isreal as litterly bulldozed dozens of villages, kill it's people, demonlized their homes and then displaced these people into a few areas, mainly Gaza and Golen Heights. How can you justify that. How would I like it if someone did that to me and my son. No one has the right to do this.

    You never hear the real truth but look it up. Isreal has been brutal in the way they've obtained the land. Again, litterally masaquering whole villages in taking back the land. This I just don't get and sometimes question why God would allow this.

    November 19, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. American Thinker

    Jews Run the Media here and Hollywood and the Banking sector and our Federal government. Don't believe me? Why does every Presidential candidate have to swear undying loyalty to Israel??
    The old canard that Jews are never loyal to the countries that they are born in and live is is very much true and not a canard at all. History has a way of repeating itself But I hope not.

    November 19, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. jim

    being Israel controls any and all news coming out of Gaza its no surprise of the poll results. The american public never sees the other side of the story.
    i don't think anyone argues Israel has the right to defend itself. the real question is what rights do the palestinian people have? when you are confined into a small segment of land 5 by 20 miles with no way of escape and Israel conducts a embargo of all goods coming in apparently Palestinians have no rights. If Israel wants to bomb one of the most densely populated parcels on the face of the earth with its airforce, it should allow all those Palestinians who want to flee Gaza and the bombing to leave and provide them with a safe place to live until the bombing ends. Killing innocent men, women and children apparently means as little to Israel as it does Hamas.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. A lesson still to learn

    "... the possibility of a repeat of Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza following similar rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel."

    These Bozos just won't learn. Time to bloody their nose again.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Nomorewar

    That's just nonsense! I certainly don't support murder of innocent people, men, womenor children and that is what's hapening on BOTH sides. Stop the madness.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Mr Howdy 2 u

    I am disgusted by these acts, and I am really disgusted by this poll! This nation is heading for the dumps and though I regret saying this, I am not going to lie or misrepresent the truth! This nation has overstepped the line of what is reasonable, or justifiable! The US cannot continue moving forward with all way.....what is happening to the Palestinians is something akin to what happened to the American Indians....took their land, moved them to a reservation...blockaded them, then shot them when they resisted! This is the United States in the twenty first century! Shows me nothing has changed have people as uneducated today as they were two hundred years ago...and that says a lot! P.S. Israel will do only what the US allows them to do...oh and as for Obama being in Mayanmar....I would bet this was agreed upon!!! The nobel peace prize winning Black president agreed with an Apartheid state as to the time of assault so that he "wouldnt be here to act" or at least try to broker a peace!!! Oh and are more disgusting than Obama is as far as Im concerned! Disgusting! No other way to put it.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. John

    Israel has the right to eliminate rocket attacks that threaten their people. Civilian casualties are a inconvenient fact of war. People are so quick to jump on Israel about civilian casualties, but Hamas has Gaza blood on their hands. People have the right to defend themselves. If you want to condemn anything, condemn the blind firing of rockets by Hamas.

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Bob

    For those of you who don't know Hamas started this thing and don't know Israel never murdered anyone and has ONLY fought back I say to you: What a shame you cannot read or think!

    November 19, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. John.nosetip

    Considering the corporate press i'm surprised it's not higher. The corporate press almost always takes the side of the government regardless of the administration. Remember the pre-iraq war coverage all that was missing were pom poms

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Tycoon

    the strikes in gaza are extremly unjustified. Killing families and toddlers are not the way to show anger.

    November 19, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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