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July 25, 2014 10:52 am

U.S. Gallup Poll: Only 11% Say Hamas Justified in War Against Israel

avatar by Joshua Levitt

The American and Israeli flags. Photo: WikiMedia Commons.

A new Gallup poll taken this week shows that only 11 percent of Americans view Hamas as being justified in its war against Israel, according to the results released on Thursday. A full 70 percent said Hamas was not justified in this war.

Gallup said the poll showed U.S. attitudes remained similar to a previous poll conducted in 2002, when the Israel Army responded to widespread suicide bombing that killed over 1000 civilians during the second Palestinian ‘Intifada,’ or uprising.

In 2002, the same question about Palestinian justification for fighting Israel showed that 17 percent believed their aims were justified and 62 percent did not.

But the poll, in both iterations, also noted that when the question was framed in the opposite way, asking if Israel was justified in its actions against Hamas, or the Palestinians, generally, the results showed less clarity. In 2014, 42 percent said Israel was justified, and 39 percent said it was not; in 2002, the results were 44 percent and 34 percent.

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The poll showed a divide among members of U.S. political parties, with 65 percent of registered Republicans answering that Israel was justified in its actions, compared to 36 percent for Independents and 31 percent for Democrats.

Other distinctions included gender, with 51 percent of men and 33 percent of woman agreeing that Israel is justified, and race, with 50 percent of whites agreeing that Israel is justified versus 25 percent for non-whites.

Age was also a defining factor. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, only 25 percent said Israel was justified, compared to 36 percent for 30 to 49-year-olds, 53 percent for 50 to 64-year-olds, and 55 percent for respondents 65 years old and above.

A ranking by education showed a similar division. Of respondents with a high school degree or less, 33 percent said Israel was justified; with some college, 43 percent; with a college degree, 49 percent, and with post-graduate degrees, 53 percent.

Opinions were also reflected by knowledge of the actual details of what was happening.

Gallup said: “A majority of Americans interviewed July 22-23 say they are following news of the conflict very (22 percent) or somewhat (37 percent) closely. The more closely Americans are following the news about the Middle East situation, the more likely they are to think Israel’s actions are justified.”

Of those who were following the news very closely, 71 percent said Israel was justified.

Of those following somewhat closely, 51 percent said Israel was justified, and of those not following it closely at all, only 18 percent said Israel was justified.

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