Hamas forces in Gaza
Hamas forces in GazaIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A majority of Americans support Israel and blame Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, according to a new poll commissioned by The Israel Project.

Americans blame the PA for the current conflict in Gaza (56 percent to 18 percent) and “Hamas leaders who control Gaza” for the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza (66 percent to 17 percent), the Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll of registered voters revealed.

Nearly half of Americans say they have seen, read or heard “a lot” about the military conflict in Gaza Strip, and sided with Israel’s anti-terror efforts over the PA by a 57 percent to 8 percent margin. The figures are virtually unchanged from pre-Gaza War polling in November 2008 (57 percent to 6 percent).

“Americans accept Israel’s justification for acting in Gaza because they accept Israel’s stated obligation to defend the safety of its citizens and the understanding that no country would allow rockets to fall on its citizens without taking action,” said Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Dr. Stanley Greenberg.

Polled voters said they believe the Israeli-PA conflict is about ideology and religion (73 percent), and peace can only be achieved by acknowledging each other’s right to exist. Only 19 percent said they thought the conflict is really about land.

Americans also faired well when polled on their knowledge. Close to two-thirds of Americans knew that Israel withdrew all its troops and settlers from Gaza three years ago and that PA and Hamas terrorists have been regularly shooting rockets into Israel for years. A full 46 percent of Americans correctly identify Iran as a main supporter of Hamas’ terror activities.

Middle East peace can be achieved by getting the PA to stop shooting rockets into Israel (91 percent), getting the PA to stop teaching hate (90 percent), stopping Iran from arming, funding and training terrorists (87 percent), and getting Iran to stop its nuclear program (76 percent), said responders. In addition, stopping military incursions into Gaza (53 percent), opening all Gaza borders to the free flow of goods and services (55 percent), or stopping settlement expansion and giving up land to the PA (54 percent) are not necessary for achieving peace.

Despite tremendous domestic issues, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe their country must still work hard to bring peace to the Middle East and stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons (80 percent).

"Even in this time of war, while Americans are being confronted with difficult images and reports from Gaza, they remain supportive of Israel and concerned about the threat of Iran," said Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies.