A vast majority of Americans view Israelis far more favorably than Palestinians, according to a poll released this week ahead of talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday.
A total of 71 percent of Americans polled said they have positive views of Israelis, compared with just 19 percent who said the same of the Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported citing a poll conducted over the first week of February by U.S. consultancy firm Gallup.
“The United States has long been an ally of Israel, and Americans continue to show decidedly positive views toward that nation,” the pollsters stated, according to the Post.
“As nations throughout the Middle East undergo tumultuous change, perhaps making the region more politically unstable, Americans still appear to see Israel as important, with large majorities viewing it favorably and many more giving their sympathies to the Israelis than to the Palestinians,” the statement added.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Americans were also asked which side they sympathize with. A total of 63 percent said Israel, while only 15 percent said the Palestinians and the same figure said neither or had no opinion.
“For the first time since 1991, more than 6 in 10 Americans say their sympathies in the Middle East situation lie more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians,” Gallup concluded.
The polled sample was also divided by political affiliation, resulting in 78 percent of Republicans saying they side more with Israel, as did 56 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents.
On Monday, Netanyahu arrived in the U.S. capital early Monday for talks with Obama primarily on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and how to deal with them.
The issue has pushed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict far into the background, although U.S. efforts to revive stalled peace talks are sure to be discussed in the Oval Office.
Israelis and Palestinians held several sessions of talks in recent months, in which the Israelis offered a document comprising 21 points that Abbas had dismissed as worthless.
Despite strong opposition from the United States and Israel, the Palestinian Authority applied to the U.N. Security Council last September for U.N. membership. But a committee to consider the application failed to reach consensus, and the Palestinians have not so far requested a formal vote in the council.
Peace talks foundered in late 2010 with Palestinians demanding that Israel suspend settlement building in the occupied West Bank, including Arab East Jerusalem.
Abbas also demanded that Israel agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state on all lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East war before resuming negotiations.
Israel has rejected both demands and said it was ready to resume negotiations immediately with no preconditions.