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Poll: U.S. Jews say Israel doing more to bring peace

WASHINGTON (JTA) — American Jews overwhelmingly feel Israel is doing more to bring peace to the Middle East than the Palestinians, according to an Anti-Defamation League poll.

Majorities in the national telephone survey of 1,200 American Jews also believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people are "serious about wanting to reach a lasting peace agreement."

Seventy-three percent of those surveyed between March 31 and April 8 said Israel is "doing more to try and bring peace to the region," while just 2 percent answered the Palestinians.

Fifty-two percent said Abbas is "serious about wanting to reach a lasting peace agreement," to 40 percent who think he isn’t serious, and 55 percent said the "Palestinian people" are serious, to 38 percent who do not. The poll also found that 61 percent favor the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip in late December and January earned strong support, with 74 percent of American Jews approving and just 17 percent disapproving. Margins of more than 2 to 1 said Israel’s actions were "appropriate" in two differently worded questions. By a 47-44 margin, respondents favored the statement that  "it is up to the Palestinians and Israelis to solve their problems" and any "lasting agreement between them must be reached with the U.S. only playing a role as a faciliator" rather than the statement that "peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will never take place without the continuing leadership and involvement of the U.S. government."

The poll also found that 55 percent approve of the way President Obama is handling U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinian territories, with 21 percent disapproving. In addition, respondents by a 50-44 percent margin backed negotiations with Iran with no preconditions. If negotiations fail, though, those surveyed supported a U.S. strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by 55 to 27 percent, and an Israeli strike by a 58-27 tally.

The poll, which was conducted by Marttila Communications, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent. Certain questions were asked to only half the sample and have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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