Most Americans disapprove of Israel’s actions in Gaza: Poll

Poll shows ‘clear disconnect’ between President Joe Biden’s policies and US public, especially Democrats, analyst says.

Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip
Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip, in this handout picture released on March 27, 2024 [Israeli army/Handout via Reuters]

A majority of Americans disapprove of Israel’s actions in Gaza, a new poll has shown, as the Israeli military continues to pound the besieged Palestinian enclave and imposes a siege that has created a hunger crisis.

The Gallup poll released on Wednesday found that 55 percent of respondents disapproved of the Israeli military’s actions in the Gaza Strip, up from 45 percent who said they disapproved in November, a month after Israel began its operation.

Among Democratic Party voters, the percentage was even higher, with 75 percent of respondents expressing a negative view of Israel’s actions, while 60 percent of independents also said they disapproved.

“The Gallup poll reflects a clear disconnect between the Biden administration’s policies and the views of a majority of Americans, particularly Democrats, on Israel’s actions in Gaza,” said Raed Jarrar, advocacy director at Democracy for the Arab World Now, a think-tank in Washington, DC.

“This divergence suggests a pressing need for the administration to realign its foreign policy with the values and expectations of its constituents,” Jarrar told Al Jazeera in an email.

“Such a substantial gap in approval should be another reason for the administration to end its ongoing support to Israel’s genocide.”

The findings of the poll, which was conducted earlier this month, come as Israel has intensified its bombardment of parts of the Gaza Strip despite growing international demands for a lasting ceasefire to end the war.

US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has also faced protests and public anger over his staunch support for Israel and refusal to withhold foreign aid to the Israeli government until it complies with international human rights norms.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration abstained from a United Nations Security Council ceasefire resolution instead of using its veto, a move that experts said highlighted Biden’s frustrations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But Washington continues to provide weapons and public support to Israel, and senior US officials have downplayed the importance of the UN Security Council measure.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said on Wednesday that Israeli attacks on the territory over the past 24 hours had killed at least 76 Palestinians, raising the total to at least 32,490 Palestinians killed since Israel began its assault following Hamas’s October 7 attack that left 1,139 Israelis dead.

Israel also continues to block humanitarian aid deliveries to the enclave, which is facing shortages of food, clean water and other supplies.

A UN expert warned this week that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. The Israeli government rejected those allegations.

Against that backdrop, Biden’s approval rating for his handling of the situation in the Middle East sits at 27 percent, according to another Gallup poll released last week.

Among Democrats, the approval rating was 47 percent, compared with 16 percent and 21 percent among Republicans and independents, respectively.

“Democrats’ widespread opposition to Israel’s actions underscores the difficulty of the issue for President Joe Biden among his most loyal supporters,” Gallup said on Wednesday.

“Some Democratic critics believe Biden has been too closely aligned with Israel by not taking stronger actions to promote a ceasefire and to assist Palestinian civilians caught in the war zone.”

Biden has faced a growing protest movement over his Gaza policy as he campaigns for re-election in November against his predecessor and the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Groups have urged Democratic voters to cast “uncommitted” ballots during several state primaries so far this year, including in the key US swing state of Michigan.

Earlier this month, organisers of the so-called Listen to Michigan campaign announced plans to take their movement national.

“Today, we launched our national movement to let you all know uncommitted voters aren’t going anywhere, and we aren’t backing down until we achieve a permanent ceasefire,” Layla Elabed, a key organiser, told reporters.

Source: Al Jazeera