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Americans blame Hamas more than Israel for Gaza strife

(JTA) — Significantly more Americans blame Hamas for the current violence in Gaza than blame Israel, according a new poll.

The poll, released by the Pew Research Center, shows that 40 percent of Americans blame Hamas for the conflict as compared with 19 percent who blame Israel and 14 percent who blame both sides equally. The remaining 28 percent responded that they don’t know.

According to the poll, however, Americans are deeply divided in their feelings about the conflict along partisan, generational, racial, and other fault lines. For example, 29 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 hold Israel more responsible as opposed to 21 percent who blame Hamas, while all older demographic groups assign greater blame to Hames. Those 65 and over back Israel the most staunchly, with 53 percent blaming Hamas as compared to 15 percent who blame Israel.

Views also are divided along the political spectrum — for example, just 6 percent of conservative Republicans hold Israel more responsible, while 70 percent fault Hamas. Meanwhile, liberal Democrats are evenly divided, with 30 percent blaming Israel and 30 percent blaming Hamas.

Further divides are in evidence when assessing the proportionality of Israel’s response. The poll found that 22 percent of whites felt that Israel has gone too far in its response, as compared with 36 percent of blacks and 35 percent of Hispanics who felt the same way. At the same time, 32 percent of college graduates thought Israel’s response was excessive, compared to 22 percent with some college education and 25 percent with a high school degree or less.

According to Pew, the poll was conducted among 1,005 adults from July 24- July 27.

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