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Half of American Public Favors Independent Palestinian State

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Support for Palestine independence climbs to 50% for first time since 2012
  • 62% of Democrats favor an independent state, 33% of Republicans
  • 34% view Israeli-Palestine conflict as a critical threat to the U.S.

By Jim Norman | 22 March 2019

GALLUP — For the first time since 2012, at least half of Americans favor the establishment of an independent Palestinian state “on the West Bank and the Gaza strip.”

Line graph. Support and opposition for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, since 1994.

Support for an independent Palestinian state has been edging upward each year since 2015 when it stood at 42%. The highest level of support — 58% — was reached in May 2003, at a time when Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had endorsed a peace plan calling for a Palestinian state within three years.

Growing support among Americans for an independent Palestine is occurring amid a national debate in the U.S. about Israel’s handling of the conflict and the U.S. government’s ongoing support for Israel. Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar drew strong criticism for her recent remarks that pro-Israel advocates “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” although several prominent members of her own party defended her.

Gallup measured Americans’ support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state sporadically from 1994 to 2009 and has asked it annually since 2012. Support for an independent state has always been higher than opposition, although the margin between the two shrank to three percentage points in 2017. Low levels of support in the first years the question was asked — 39% in 1994 and 36% in 1998 — were partly the result of a high number of Americans expressing no opinion on the subject (41% in 1994 and 38% in 1998).

As first reported by Gallup earlier this month, Americans are more likely to sympathize with the Israelis (59%) than with the Palestinians (21%) in the longstanding Mideast conflict, but there has been a closing of the gap this year. Republicans (76%) are much more likely than Democrats (43%) to sympathize with the Israelis, as has been the case throughout Gallup’s trend. […]

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