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Poll: Third of Americans back linking arms supplies for Israel to its treatment of Palestinians

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Israeli and American F-35 fighter jets take part in a joint exercise over southern Israel, on March 29, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli and American F-35 fighter jets take part in a joint exercise over southern Israel, on March 29, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)

NEW YORK — A third of Americans support linking US arms sales to Israel to the latter’s actions toward the Palestinians, according to a new poll.

Notably, support for such a linkage was nearly the same among Democrats (36.3%) and Republicans (32.3%), the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll found.

But the survey also found that 46.6% of respondents still oppose linking arms sales to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

The poll focuses largely on American perceptions of US President Joe Biden’s handling of the recent Gaza conflict.

A slight majority — 52.6% — disapproved of Biden’s effort, while 47.4% approved.

Among members of his own party, 72.3% approved and 27.7% disapproved of Biden’s handling of the conflict.

A Palestinian woman approaches a checkpoint as an ultra-Orthodox Jewish teen prays outside the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, during the annual Tisha B’Av fast day on July 18, 2021. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Disapproval numbers were higher among Democrats between the ages of 18 and 34, with 49.7% unsatisfied with the US president’s performance.

Among Democrats, 34.8% blamed Israel for the recent conflict, 8.1% blamed the Palestinians and 52.5% blamed both sides equally. By contrast, 3.7% of Republicans blamed Israel, 59.1% blamed the Palestinians and 31.3% blamed both sides.

In an unrelated question, the poll finds that more Americans believe Iran acquires a nuclear weapon than Israel does.

Israel has never officially acknowledged having such capabilities, though it is widely believed to maintain them. Iran, however, is not known to have a nuclear weapon and world powers have been engaged in talks with Tehran in recent years to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring such capabilities.

According to the poll, 60.5% of respondents — including 70.6% of Republicans and 52.6% of Democrats — say Iran currently possesses nuclear weapons, compared to 51.7% who say Israel currently does.

The University of Maryland surveyed 3,379 American adults and the poll had a margin of error of 1.69%.

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