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. davidhmittelberg

    The "Palestinians" were given billions of dollars to build homes for their civilians, peacefully. They were given land to do so on.. they took those funds and instead purchased an arsenal of rockets and missiles to "wipe Israel off the face of the planet".

    November 19, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Dirk

    what a shock, pro-Israel CNN posts more propoganda.

    Look at all the killing IDF has done to innocent Palestinians. Killing children, but saying it was a military base. Sound likes what we tell fellow Americans when we go on bomb runs.

    Israel should get the f out of Gaza, and this wouln't have even started. But no, their greed and thirst for a 100% Israeli-born state is their only goal. They treat Palestinians like second-class citizens, making Israel a true apartheid state.

    November 19, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Maria Ferreira

    Yesterday I was reading the Bible to see which land God gave to the 12 tribes of Israel.Gaza was given to the tribe of Judah!-Read this:JOSHUA 15:20
    This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.
    JOSHUA 15:47
    'Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:"
    P.S: Now, who is doing the TRUE occupation?

    November 19, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Jonathan

    Netanyahu is a hard liner and will never see any side except his own. Thank god that Romney didn't win–Israel's tanks would have been pouring over the border and days ago (Mittens and Netanyahu were buddies on Wall Street). Get rid of Netanyahu and things will improve. The only real improvement is if Israel recognizes the legitimate claims of the Palestinians.

    November 19, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Name

    Let Israel do what they want to Pakistan and vice versa. Keep the U.S. out of it entirely.

    November 19, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. jim


    Are you just a roll or are you that pathetically devoid of any history?

    November 19, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. TED

    How come we always find a way to be part of every conflict that starts over there. I truly think we could find peace by doing nothing ,and leaving this out of the news . Future peace for my kids should not involve going to war over something that might turn bad. That is all my children need is 5,000,000 more middle eastern children burning our flag.

    November 19, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. sandy

    What planet are you from Roger? They did not start it first read the news!

    November 19, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. davidhmittelberg

    The "Palestinians" were given billions of dollars by ISRAEL to build homes for their people as a means to a peaceful state of living between the two cultures on shared land. Instead, the Palestinian leaders took these monies and purchased an arsenal of weaponry and rockets from a collapsed Soviet Russia to "wipe Israel off the face of the Earth". Stop feeding the wild animals..

    November 19, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Name

    What do you expect when all you here on the news is the Israeli perspective? A strong Israel serves the interests of the American foreign policy. After the Balfour declaration, the Jews that were being persecuted by CHRISTIAN Nazi's were granted a land that didn't belong to them. Not by God, but by the British to ensure that the region remain segmented after the fall of the Ottoman Islamic state. Palestinians were massacred and displaced in refugee camps on their own land. Then they were asked in 1948 to split their country unproportionately, which any human being would have done the same. Where the British left off, the American government took over and continued to nurture Israel for the very same reason as the British did. Where the WORLD unanimously sides with the Palestinians, censorship has manipulated the minds of your average American citizen as well as the Evangelist Zionist.

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

    I have sympathy for the Israelis and the Palestinian people, but not for Hamas.

    November 19, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. MAck

    Israel is in defense terrorist wanna kill and take over the Jewish occupied land... The fall of the jews would foreshadow the fall of western Christianity dem and rep stand in faith for our fellow bros

    November 19, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. fmc

    Not me. I don't support Israel. They have become a bully in the Middle East, especially after their days of bombing in Lebonon several years ago. The need to stop harrassing the Palestinians and create a real peace by giving the Palestinians a right to their own home too.

    November 19, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. jorge washinsen

    May 15 1948 is when this war started if you care to read up on it. Ask Britain when it started for them after WW2 had just ended.Briitish soldiers died for no reason at all.

    November 19, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. aktap

    No surprise's here, no matter how week a group of people are? It can't just start shooting at its nabors. Then demand that America feel sorry for them when they're butts get kicked. The blood of the innocent Arab people who are trapped in that hell hole is the shame of this modern world! But Hamas just like with a drunk laying on the street corner most people are going to think O how sad? but every one of them well think that the drunk needs to change, not the Israeli store owner who sold him the booze.

    November 19, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. nsaldana420

    Israel is an invader and has no right to Palestine. So what if they lived there 2,000 years ago? Under than argument you could say that about any empire or state that existed 2,000 years ago. Are they saying Italians have a right to half of Europe. The Iranians (Persians) have a right to the middle east. The Libyans to North Africa. That argument has no weight, and no rationality. Any talk about reading the Bible or Torah, is the same as any Muslim radical finding clause for terror in the Koran. Palestinian have a fundamental right to fight off an invader and occupational force.
    What I don't understand is why the United States must be friends with Israel. What have they ever done for America, other than buy expensive weapons and make defense contractors rich?

    November 19, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. rdeleys

    It's about time the Palestinians got a break. They've been badly treated for far too long. We need to cut off all military aid to Israel immediately to force them to the negotiating table and we need to greatly increase humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

    November 19, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Kathy

    FYI Mr. MItt, Hamas is firing their rockets from hospitals and civilian locations. They don't care about their people. Additionally, the Israelis are actually treating injured Palestinians. Do your research buddy..

    November 19, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. james

    Most medias back Israel too.

    November 19, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Tinku

    Most Americans also have no idea that for years Gaza has been reduced to a giant prison with tight control on its borders and foreign control over basic necessities for those who were unlucky to be born in this land of penury. At the same time Americans also have no idea of Israel progressively eating into ever diminishing remaining Palestinian land in West bank to build modern settlements while the Palestinians have their fields uprooted to make way for these settlements and have to struggle for basic necessities.

    We have had a President who has been pandering to the Violence committed by Israel .. so much so that when it used white Phosphorous in the last conflict it did not even get the slightest condemnation. He learnt the hard way early in the Presidency to shut up when it comes to Israel when his calls for Israel to stop building newer settlements on illegal land went completely unheeded and he got plenty of scoldings from the right wing who believes in superiority of races. The less said about the other Presidential candidate the better. He has gone on record to say that he has no interest in Palestine and the two state solution is not the one he supports (a drastic U turn from all previous presidents).

    The hopelessly naive Mr. Romney may have been ironically right though. Since the west bank remains riddled with innumerable holes and pockets of new, growing and privileged Israeli settlements creating a viable state out of it is impossible. Therefore its best for Palestinians to dissolve Palestinian Authority (a toothless authority created to listen to orders from Israel) and merge with Israel. That way Israel can get all the land it wants. It will also be a powerful and everlasting slap in face of all those who claim to be the standard bearers of Freedom and Human rights.

    November 19, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Jonathan

    in response to Dirk:

    Right on! If the world actually knew of the horrible conditions the Palestinians live under (translate=press), I think a lot of people would change their hard-line stance towards the Palestinians. Israel took a country from people, claiming it was theirs thousands of years ago. S. Hussein made the same claim when he invaded Kuwait (actually, sort of true) and we jumped all over him. Where's the outrage against Israel?

    November 19, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Mike

    @maria the tora says the Jewish people will be nomads until the day of judgement as a punishment from god... Look it up

    November 19, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Skeeve

    To all those people lamenting that diplomacy does not work for Hamas because of big bad Israel I suggest reading HAMAS charter. Come back after you do, until then please, spare us your pathos.

    November 19, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Bill

    Mr Ryan, you're confused, really, you are. The IDF is nearly as well equipped as the US. If they were "bombing the hell out of everything", the discussion today would be "What used to live in the Gaza strip?"

    Their strikes target specific Hamas targets. The confirmation is in the fact that Hamas keeps complaining about the IDF targeting their leadership!

    But, nevermind. You won't listen. You're with the other 11-18% of the i diots that think Israel should just live with the rockets.

    November 19, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Steve

    Gush Katif as most Israeli settlements are land grabs from the Palestinian people. As usual the IDF targets and kills, which is followed by a bunch of rockets (which contain no guidance), and then Israeli claims they are defending themselves from the people they occupy, persecute, imprison, and assassinate. Who is the terrorist, the occupied, or the occupiers? The settlers or the farmers? And why shouldn't they hate your existence considering they way their are treated?

    November 19, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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