- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More Americans say Israel’s action are justified in the conflict in Gaza than side with Hamas, said a new poll released Tuesday.

The Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans say Israel’s actions are justified, compared to just 14 percent who say the same for Hamas. About 38 percent said Israel’s military campaign in Gaza was unjustified, and 66 percent said the Palestinian’s military actions were unjustified.

American’s divided views on Israel and Hamas have chanced little over the last 10 years. The same poll found similar results during another period of heightened Israeli-Palestinian violence in 2002.

“This stability suggests that Americans’ underlying attitudes about the region may be anchoring their reaction to the Gaza conflict, even as raw images of the fighting and civilian casualties pour in,” the pollsters said.

However, the pollsters noted that while the roughly evenly divided support for Israel’s actions has remained constant, the pro-Israel sentiment is “significantly below the percentage who routinely say that their sympathies are more broadly with the Israelis rather than the Palestinians in the Middle East.”

The level of attention Americans are paying to the conflict in Gaza has remained relatively steady since the current fighting erupted about a month ago.

About six in 10 said they are following the conflict “very” or “somewhat closely,” according to the poll.

The poll also found that the advent of social media, which can deliver more real-time news and images of war, has not significantly altered American’s attitudes toward the Middle East conflict, although there is a slight tendency of social media users to be less supportive of Israel.

“Those who are paying closest attention to the conflict in general are more likely to say that Israel’s actions are justified,” said the pollsters.