Nearly Half U.S. Voters Polled Support Settlement Freeze

By Natasha Mozgovaya (Haaretz)

Published March 18, 2010.

Almost half of all U.S. voters believe that Israel should be made to cease all settlement construction as part of a future peace deal with the Palestinians, a Rasmussen Reports poll said on Wednesday.

The American institute claimed that a recent poll showed 49% of voters approved of forcing Israel to stop settlement construction, with only 22% of voters disagreeing, saying Israel should not be required to stop building those settlements. Another 29% were not sure.

U.S.-Israel ties have been strained of late, as a result of Israel’s approval of 1,600 new East Jerusalem housing units during an official visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last week. U.S. President Barack Obama, however, denied Wednesday the existence of a crisis in the ties between Washington and Jerusalem.

The Rasmussen Reports poll also showed that 75% of U.S. voters said that the Palestinians should be required to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as part of such an agreement, with only 6% disagreeing.

Seventy-three percent of voters, according to the poll, said they thought it was unlikely that there will be lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis within the next decade, including 19% who say it is not at all likely.

According to the Rasmussen Reports website, last June, when Obama challenged Israel’s settlement policy last June, 48% of voters said the president’s Middle Eastern policy was about right, with 35% say he was not supportive enough of Israel.

In this week’s poll, however, 58% of voters responded that Israel was an ally of the United States, with 2% viewing Israel as an enemy. For 32%.

On Wednesday, Obama told Fox News that there was no crisis in ties with Israel, despite a high-profile diplomatic feud over the Netanyahu administration’s plans to build 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem.

“Israel is one of our closest allies, and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that’s not going to go away,” Obama said.

“But friends are going to disagree sometimes,” Obama said.



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