Poll: Most Americans back Israel, skeptical on peace process

(JTA) — Americans by a wide margin support Israel but do not want the United States to take the lead in an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a new poll shows.

Fifty-five percent of Americans, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday, sympathized more with Israel than with the Palestinian Authority. Nine percent sympathized more with the P.A., 14 percent sympathized with neither side and 18 percent had no opinion on the question.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents, though, said the United States should leave peace talks to the Israelis and Palestinians, while 26 percent said the U.S. should lead the negotiations. The 69 percent figure is 15 points higher than when the poll last asked about the U.S. role in peace talks 11 years ago, during the second intifada.

Americans were mostly split on U.S. pressure on Israel: 17 percent said the U.S. puts too much pressure on Israel, 21 percent said there was too little and 41 percent said it was the proper amount. The poll also showed that 34 percent of Americans think the U.S. puts too little pressure on the P.A., while 8 percent said the U.S. pressures the P.A. too much.

Seventy-three percent of Republicans supported Israel over the P.A.; the number dropped to 49 percent among Democrats. Only 11 percent of Democrats and 4 percent of Republicans sympathized more with the P.A. than with Israel.

Conducted by Langer Associates, the poll sampled 1,001 respondents and had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

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