Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Poll Backs Greater U.N. Role in Mideast Peace

(Inter Press Service) A majority of global publics say their governments should "not take either side" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead supporting a call...

Print Friendly

(Inter Press Service)

A majority of global publics say their governments should "not take either side" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead supporting a call for the United Nations to play a greater role in regional peace, according to a new international poll released in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

World publics gave low marks to Israeli, Palestinian, U.S., and Arab leaders when asked how well the international actors were doing to resolve the 60-year-old conflict, according to the poll of 18,792 people around the globe conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative research project.

On average, 58 percent of those polled said that they believed their country should remain neutral not take a side, with only 20 percent saying their country should favor the Palestinians, and just 7 percent saying the Israelis.

In contrast, those polled think the U.N. Security Council should take a robust role in resolving the dispute. On average, 67 percent of those polled on the issue favored the idea of a stronger U.N. force, while just 20 percent opposed it.

"Why is it important? World public opinion does matter. Public opinion matters. When somebody says, ‘I don’t care what anyone else says,’ they’re lying," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, who oversaw the poll.

"What we’re dealing with here is the force of legitimacy," he continued. "Legitimacy creates order of the states, and legitimacy is a big factor in relations between states."

Most poll respondents living in Security Council member states support sending U.N. peacekeepers to enforce an eventual Israeli-Palestinian agreement, including majorities in China (81 percent), France (74 percent), Britain (67 percent), the United States (61 percent), and a plurality of Russians (47 percent).

Predominantly Muslim publics in the Middle East also support the proposal, including Turks (65 percent), Egyptians (64 percent), and Palestinians (63 percent).

Most publics polled would support an even higher level of U.N. commitment: If Israelis and the Palestinians reach a peace agreement, the U.N. Security Council should offer security guarantees to both Israel and its Arab neighbors.

On average, 45 percent favor the Security Council making a commitment to protect Israel if it is attacked by its Arab neighbors; 55 percent favor providing them to Arab countries if attacked by Israel.

Interviews were conducted in the Palestinian territories and 18 countries—China, India, United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Peru, Great Britain, France, Spain, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, and South Korea—representing 59 percent of the world’s population. (Not every public was asked every question.)

The majority in no country favors taking the Israeli side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side. Only in Iran (64 percent) and Egypt (86 percent) did a large majority of those polled take a strong position on behalf of Palestinians, while Turkey (42 percent) maintained a smaller plurality.

Israel received the worst ratings. When asked whether Israel was "doing their part in the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," respondents in 13 of the 15 publics offered negative views. On average, 54 percent said Israel is not playing a positive role, while just 22 percent said it is.

In predominantly Muslim populations, such as in Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, and the Palestinian territories, negative opinions of Israel were expectedly higher. And experts say that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues to occupy a place of primacy in the hearts and minds of Arab populations.

"It is the prism of pain through which Arabs see the world. It trumps Iraq. It trumps the Sunni-Shia divide," said Shibley Telhami, an expert on Arab media and opinion who teaches at the University of Maryland and is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center.

"If you’re an Israeli government official, what you need to note is the huge gap between Arab governments and the public on these issues that they care most about," said Telhami, "the kind of pressure that Arab governments are facing and the kind of positions that they’re taking."

Whether it is the Jordanian, Egyptian, or Saudi Arabian government, "that gap is growing," he said, as is the "degree of pessimism."

Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of the Beirut Daily Star, who attended a discussion about Telhami’s new paper, “Does the Palestinian-Israel Conflict Still Matter?” at Brookings on Tuesday, suggested that Arab populations are "shifting away from a passive or acquiescent protest into a more activist response to the conditions that plague their lives, whether it’s corruption or abuse of power or Israeli occupation or Western troops coming into the region."

Telhami cited the immense popularity of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in the Arab world as evidence of the "defiance prism." Nasrallah is Shi’a, and although the majority of Arabs are Sunnis, the Hezbollah leader remains the most popular political figure among Arabs in the region.

"It is essentially an anti-American position, it’s an anti-Israeli position. It’s a defiance," said Telhami. "In particular it’s a defiance of Israelis and evaluation of the world through the conflict between Israel and the Arab states."

Khody Akhavi and Ali Gharib write for the Inter Press Service.


Khody Akhavi and Ali Gharib, “Poll Backs Greater U.N. Role in Mideast Peace,” Right Web, with permission from Inter Press Service (Somerville, MA: PRA, 2008). Web location:
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/rw/4931.html Production Information:
Author(s): Right Web
Editor(s): Right Web
Production: Political Research Associates   IRC logo 1310 Broadway, #201, Somerville, MA   02144 | pra@publiceye.org

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

Print Friendly

North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

Print Friendly

Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

Print Friendly

Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

Print Friendly

Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

Print Friendly

Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

Print Friendly

It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.