Poll shows growing support among Americans for sanctions against Israel
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Poll shows growing support among Americans for sanctions against Israel

Brookings Institution survey shows 46% back punitive measures, up 9% from last year, while plurality of those surveyed say Obama should pressure Israel at UN

General view of the settlement of Ariel, January 17, 2014. (Flash 90)
General view of the settlement of Ariel, January 17, 2014. (Flash 90)

The number of Americans supporting sanctions against Israel over its settlement policy grew by 9 percent over the past year and now stands at 46%, according to a new poll released by the Brookings Institution on Friday.

According to twin surveys conducted by the think tank’s Shibley Telhami before and after the November 8 presidential elections, support for punitive measures against Israel has increased among members of both major parties: 60% of Democrats and 31% of Republicans back economic sanctions and more serious action, compared to 49% and 26% in November 2015.

The surveys also showed that 46% of Americans would support action by President Barack Obama at the UN designed to pressure Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Only 27% would oppose such a move, while 25% were neither for or against such a measure.

On Thursday US officials said Obama has nearly ruled out any such last-ditch effort, which would have been perceived as constraining Israel’s negotiating hand while strengthening the Palestinians’ argument on the world stage.

Meanwhile the gap between Democrats and Republicans continues to widen on the question of American support for a potential UN resolution endorsing Palestinian statehood. Democratic support for such action stands at 51% (up from 39% last year) while Republican opposition has increased to 51% (up from 43% last year). Overall 31% of respondents said the US should oppose such a UN resolution while 34% would support it, and 32% backed abstention.

A clear majority of Americans (76%) said Israel was an important ally to the US. Meanwhile 55% of Democrats and 24% of Republicans feel that Israel is a burden.

While a majority of Americans (57%) said they would like President-elect Donald Trump to be an impartial mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, 57% also said they believed Trump would lean towards Israel in any negotiations.

The polls were conducted between October 5-14 and November 18-23, 2016. They involved 2,570 panelists and had margins of error of 2.5%-3.04%.

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