Many more Americans continue to side with Israel rather than the Palestinian Authority, but – with President Obama’s first visit there days away – most also prefer to leave peace negotiations to the two protagonists, rather than having the United States take the lead.
Fifty-five percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll sympathize more with Israel, vs. 9 percent who side more with the Palestinian Authority, with the rest favoring neither, or undecided. It’s been a similar gap for many years, including polling back to the 1980s testing Israel vs. the Arab nations of the Middle East.
Despite that preference for Israel, seven in 10 want the U.S. largely to leave resolving the conflict to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves – a result that underscores the difficulties in finding a solution to the decades-old conflict. Preference for the United States to eschew a leading role is 15 percentage points higher than the last time it was asked in an ABC/Post poll, during an outbreak of violence between the two sides nearly 11 years ago.
Even among those who are more sympathetic to one side or the other, regardless of which side it is, about two-thirds don’t want the U.S. to take the leading role. That preference rises to about three-quarters of those who don’t favor either side.
In another expression of support for Israel, more Americans say the Obama administration has put too little pressure on the Palestinian Authority than too much pressure – 34 vs. 8 percent. They split about evenly, by contrast, on whether the administration has put too much or too little pressure on Israel. About four in 10, meanwhile, think the U.S. has appropriately pressured each side in the conflict.
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