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. Thinker23

    As a matter of fact, a place (or rather, a geographical area) called Palestine existed for thousands of years. This, however, gives the people who 40-something years ago decided to call themselves 'Palestinians' NO MORE RIGHTS for the land of Palestine than the existence of a geographical area known as Sahara would give to 'Saharians'.

    November 19, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Mr. Ryan

    InvestMattA – Palestinians (by a huge majority innocent civilians) are dying 100 to 1. Who is committing genocide? The Israeli air strikes are not pinpoint, they are just bombing the hell out of everything. In 2008, is was what, 1200 Palestinian to 13 Israeli deaths (4 from friendly fire)? You gotta be kidding me.

    November 19, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. AnAmerican

    Gaza nor Israel has the right to kill innocent people !!!! that's it!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. zaglossus

    Only 57%? Sadly, as events have shown over the last several years, though I do support some "progressive" ideas, the USA is changing from the land I knew and loved and not, in my opinion, for the better. I hope for the future, my nostalgia is misplaced.

    November 19, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. elena



    "The term Peleset (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c.1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first mention is thought to be in texts of the temple at Medinet Habu which record a people called the Peleset among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign.[10] The Assyrians called the same region Palashtu or Pilistu, beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c.800 BCE through to emperor Sargon II in his Annals approximately a century later.[1][11][12] Neither the Egyptian or Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.

    The first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BC Ancient Greece.[13] Herodotus wrote of a 'district of Syria, called PalaistinĂª" in The Histories, the first historical work clearly defining the region, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.[14][15][16][17][18][19] Approximately a century later, Aristotle used a similar definition in Meteorology, writing "Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine,"

    November 19, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Tennzay

    If Israel had been conceived on a secular state basis, things might have been different. But as a 'Jewish' state in a region which has long been multiethnic, it set the trend of tribal/religious exclusivity. Conflict was inevitable. Predictably, the response to the creation of the Jewish state has been a steady but inevitable increase in Islamist nationalisms and, concomitantly, in sectarian conflict.

    When Israel finally lets go of its theocentric obsession – establishing real equality for all its citizens instead of priveleging a select group supposedly favored by Yahweh (aka Yahoo) – real solutions will become possible.

    November 19, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Name B.Kennedy

    I support Israel – why would anyone expect Israel to just sit and take it from Palestine? Israel is protecting themselves – would we not?

    November 19, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    'To anyone that attacks israel or talks bad about her should be chased down and illiminated"

    do you mean illuminated or eliminated? I bash Israel–rightfully so. So you're going to hunt me down? Why am I not surprised? Israel suppresses anything or anyone that speaks out against them.

    November 19, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |

    This is Just a ploy by Netanyahu to bait IRAN into a THIRD WORLD WAR!!!!

    This idiot has been angling for war, and now he's just killing babies and mothers and the innocent indefensible palentinians just to further this cause, with the hope that America is gonna side with Israel!!!

    I hope Netanyahu stop this unjust killings of the innocent!!!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Roger

    Article is not accurate. Hostilities started because Israel assassinated a Hamas commander in Gaza

    November 19, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. jorge washinsen

    If you haven't noticed very few people are willing to give you any more information than you have. Signing up to receive the drivel is not that important to people now.

    November 19, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. brian

    The reason most Americans support Israel is because Americans don't support terror organizations. Don't get me wrong, I kind of feel sorry for the Palestinian people in general but they are the ones that voted Hamas in control. Not sure what Hamas is thinking shooting rockets into Israel because whatever they do, Israel can match ten fold...pretty stupid if you ask me...

    November 19, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Scott

    Israel is a cancer on the world and deserves to be wiped off the map. Stealing land from people who have lived there for centuries and putting dirty jews there. May the greta Palestinian people bring the zions down!~

    November 19, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. America is for America

    America is not your piggy bank Israel. You got yourself in this mess u dig yourself out. Stop trying to manipulate the American public they are not what you want them to be. Israel sees America as the big dummy that they manipulate through their media. No more Israel you and you're people have murdered more than enough.

    November 19, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Mike

    What a load of crap Hamas rockets are firecrackers compared to Israel's guided missiles f16s tanks etc etc.. Israel is a rogue state it does what ever it wants without being punished as a state Gaza is an open air prison and gazas civilians are being punished don't shove the holocuast down my throat when they are doing the same crap to the Palestinians

    November 19, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. MRs B

    Why is Cooper Anderson in Gaza interviewing people who got hit and not the country that was originally attacked? Israel is simply defending itself. What would you do if someone lopped bombs on you?
    Engage your brain and figure out what defense is. Maybe Cooper can find the people who started this while he is in Gaza and ask them nicely to stop it. That should be effective.

    November 19, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. NihilistPolitician

    Biggest Land Grab since the indians got moved to "reservations"

    November 19, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Barbara-Northern Michigan

    Israel, God Bless You, and yo
    u deserve your little country.
    My family were Polish and smuggled Jews out during the war.
    The Arab people are showing themselves time and time again as ignorant as the Nazi regime. Perhaps worse. What sane people blows themselves up?

    It must be so embarassing for them to have that as their culturally defining feature...and in the name of their God!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Toast n Butter

    Steinhauser, that's a German name, no wonder he's biased.............

    November 19, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. John

    I am shocked by some of the statements in this thread. I remember that after 9/11 that there were videos of Palestians dancing and cheering in the streets at the enws of the countless Americans that lost their lives. The one thing the news is not covering is where do Palestinians get all these rockets to launch at Israel? I am sure there are no rocket making factories in Gaza. Who is suppling the Palestinians?

    November 19, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. cc

    AVI, who did your Uncle's family get "their land" from?

    November 19, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Madeleine

    So many of these comments show the writers don't know that there was a two-state plan when Israel was founded, but the Arabs refused it. Only Israel agreed, and that is why no Palestinian state was founded at the same time as a Jewish state. Don't blame Israel for choosing life instead of death as the Palestinians did and continue to do. Why did they fire rockets on Israel last week? Their negativity never ends. Of course Israel is going to defend itself. The Palestinians continue their aggression and then cry over their dead.

    November 19, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Taroya

    Frankly, Israel should never have been established in the first place, and that Americans are more willing to go to war for Israel than for their own country is disgraceful.

    Israel has a history of treating the people that were native to that area horribly. It is the equivalent of what the US has done to the native American Indians: move 'em into a camp with no running water, rotten food, no health care, and no access to education.

    Then whine about how the natives don't like that kind of treatment. It is far worse than that: the jewish people were nearly exterminated by the Nazis, under the same type of conditions. The only thing missing that the Israeli's haven't done to any Palestinians is gas them.

    I have no sympathy for Israel. I have none for Palestinians either.

    And neither of them are a state of the country in which I live and to which I pledge allegiance.

    November 19, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. sandy

    Good for Israel finaly fighting back who gets rockets daily.
    next stop- Iran- the new K Mart parking lot!!!

    November 19, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Roger

    Israel is the aggressor in this instance. They killed a Hamas commander first. Now Hamas is fighting back

    November 19, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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