More Americans support UN resolution on Israel than oppose it — poll
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More Americans support UN resolution on Israel than oppose it — poll

While 35% of respondents back the anti-settlements Security Council resolution and 28% reject it, a plurality of 36% holds no opinion either way

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

American Jewish Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach speaks on December 28, 2016, as people take part in a protest calling on the US to 'defund the UN,' in the wake of the December 23 Israeli settlement vote in front of the UN Mission to the United Nations in New York. (AFP/Kena Betancur)
American Jewish Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach speaks on December 28, 2016, as people take part in a protest calling on the US to 'defund the UN,' in the wake of the December 23 Israeli settlement vote in front of the UN Mission to the United Nations in New York. (AFP/Kena Betancur)

WASHINGTON — More Americans support last month’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements than those who oppose it, while a plurality of respondents hold no viewpoint on the matter, according to new polling.

A national tracking poll conducted by Politico and Morning Consult recently found that 35% of US voters back UNSC Resolution 2334 — which declares all settlement construction to be in violation of international law — while 28% said they opposed the measure.

The US abstaining on that vote was seen as a sharp policy shift by Washington, which has historically shielded Israel from similar resolutions dealing with settlements by wielding its veto.

Asked their feelings on the UN motion, 14% of voters said they “strongly supported”; 21% said they “somewhat supported”; 11% said they “strongly opposed”; 17% said they “somewhat opposed”; and 36% said don’t have an opinion or didn’t know.

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power speaks to the UN Security Council after abstaining on an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)
US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power speaks to the UN Security Council after abstaining on an anti-settlement resolution, December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)

On a separate question, voters were asked what they think of settlements in more abstract terms.

Given three options of which statements came closest to their views, 28% of respondents said they thought settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza enhanced Israel’s security and that, because a Palestinian state has not previously existed, such building on disputed territory did not deny Palestinians any rights.

The question included Gaza, despite the fact that Israel evacuated its settlements and soldiers from the Palestinian enclave in 2005.

A Palestinian protester looks at burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces near the settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank on December 9, 2016. (AFP/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)
A Palestinian protester looks at burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces near the settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank on December 9, 2016. (AFP/JAAFAR ASHTIYEH)

Likewise, 28% said that such settlement communities do “violate international laws and the rights of Palestinians,” and pose an obstacle to establishing a peace deal between the sides.

A plurality of 44% of respondents, however, said they held no opinion on the issue or didn’t know.

The survey also asked about their level of engagement with the recent UN resolution — how much had they “seen, read or heard” about it.

According to the polling: 19% said they encountered the measure “a lot”; 38% said “some”; 24% said “not much”; and 19% said “not at all.”

The poll, conducted from December 28 to December 29, sampled 2,000 registered voters. It’s margin of error was +/- 2%.

UNSC Resolution 2443 was passed by a vote of 14-0 following a US abstention on December 23, a decision that effectively allowed the motion through. The text calls for a complete end to all construction in areas Israel gained after the 1967 Six Day War, territory that includes the Old City, with the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

It also calls on all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

Israel fears such language will lead to an uptick in boycott and sanctions efforts, and Israeli officials have warned it will provide “a tailwind for terror.”

The measure was met with furious condemnations from Jerusalem, with politicians issuing scathing criticisms of the countries that pushed for and supported the measure, as well as the Obama administration for withholding its veto power.

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