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American Views on Israeli-Palestinian Issues: A Public Opinion Survey

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) commissioned Zogby International to conduct a public opinion survey of American voters nationwide to determine current public attitudes regarding the situation in Palestine. The calls to 1,007 likely voters nationwide were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, New York between July 5th and July 15th, 2001. The margin of error is +/-3.2 %.
The results of the survey point to.the following general trends:
While support for Palestinian statehood has increased over the past ten years, Palestinians continue to be viewed unfavorably by American voters. However, Palestinians are viewed much more favorably than the Palestinian Authority or Yasser Arafat.
Despite the elaborate public relations campaign by Israel and its supporters in the US over the past 11 months, American public opinion has not shifted radically one way or the other as a result of this campaign and the biased media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It is quite clear that the Palestinian narrative is neither known nor appreciated by a large sector of the American public. For most Americans, the Israeli version still defines the conflict in the Middle East.
Why Israelis are viewed favorably by a majority of Americans, the Israeli government is not viewed as favorably. By the same token, the Palestinian Authority is viewed quite negatively; American opinion is divided on the Palestinians.
An overwhelming majority of Americans support the Palestinian right to independent statehood and see the Palestinians as the equal people entitled to full rights as the Israelis.
American support for the Palestinians increases when the issue is presented in purely humanitarian terms.
Conversely, support for the Palestinians tends to decrease when the issue is presented in legal, religious or historical terms.
A plurality of American voters agrees that the Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer at Camp David because it failed to provide them with freedom of movement and contiguous land capable of producing a viable state.
American sub-groups who are inclined to support the Palestinians include the Democrats, liberals, Catholics, Hispanics and African-Americans.
More than three-quarters of U.S. voters generally blame both Israelis and Palestinians for the breakdown of the Middle East peace process.
KEY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM THE SURVEY:
Do you agree or disagree that there should be an independent Palestinian state?
Agree 73%
Disagree 12%
Not sure 15%
Do you agree or disagree that Israelis and Palestinians are equal people entitled to equal rights?
Agree 96%
Disagree 3%
Not sure 2%
What happened at Camp David in July 2000?
27% – Israel made the Palestinians a generous offer for peace but the Palestinians rejected. The offer included more than 90% of the West Bank plus Palestinians neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Israel kept only small parcels of land heavily populated by Jewish settlers.
44% – the Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer because it left them with separate parcels of land that could not form a viable state. The offer did not provide them with freedom of movement or freedom to conduct commerce. The Palestinians were also denied the right of return and sovereign control over their natural resources.
29% – Not sure.
4. Generally speaking, whom do you blame for the breakdown of the Middle East peace process?
Both sides 78%
Palestinians 12%
Israelis 4%
Other 3%
Not sure 4%
5. Favorable/Unfavorable names:
Favorable /Unfavorable/ Not familiar
Colin Powell 85% / 9% / 6%
George W. Bush 65% / 33% / 1%
Israelis 60% / 24% / 13%
Israeli government 43% / 38% / 16%
Palestinians 39% / 42% / 16%
Ariel Sharon 29% / 20% / 48%
Shimon Peres 26% / 19% / 53%
Hosni Mubarak 21% / 14% / 63%
Yasser Arafat 18% / 67% / 14%