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Voters in new poll broadly disapprove of Biden's handling of Gaza

President Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza is broadly unpopular, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The New York Times/Siena poll shows that just 33 percent of respondents approve of Biden’s Israel policy, compared to 57 percent disapproval. The results also highlight the massive divide in opinion among Americans on the best course of action in the conflict.

The Biden administration has given strong support to Israel in the conflict since its onset, a position which spurred criticism as the Israeli war effort slows amid increasing international opposition.

But poll respondents who disapprove of Biden are also split, with about a third saying the U.S. is too supportive of Israel. Just under a third (28 percent) said the same of Palestinians, and the remaining respondents (39 percent) said the support was “about right.”

Pressure has mounted on the Biden administration and Israel to implement a cease-fire in order to assist civilians in Gaza. Last week, just eight nations joined the U.S. and Israel in the United Nations to vote against a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

About 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, with about 70 percent of the dead being women and children. Nearly the entirety of the territory’s 2.3 million population has been displaced from their homes and requires humanitarian assistance, according to the U.N.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration has pressured the Israeli government to slow its military advance into southern Gaza in order to limit civilian casualties, though the country has shown few signs of heeding that advice.

The killing of three Israeli hostages Saturday by the Israeli military again raised tensions inside the country, where many Israelis urged their government to focus the return of the estimated 100 hostages still being kept by Hamas in Gaza, instead of a broader military operation. 

Among poll respondents, a plurality said the Israeli military should pursue a cease-fire to help Palestinian civilians; about 44 percent of respondents signaled support for a cease-fire, compared to 39 percent wanting to continue military operations.

Nearly half of respondents said Israel is not doing enough to minimize civilian casualties, 48 percent, underlining concerns from the Biden administration. Of that 48 percent, just under half said they believe the killing of civilians is intentional.

Opinions were also divided by age, with younger respondents much more likely to disapprove of the Biden administration’s policies and to be sympathetic to Palestinians than older respondents. Nearly three-quarters of people aged 18-29 disapprove of Biden’s Israel policy.

The Times/Siena poll surveyed about 1,000 voters from Dec. 10-14, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Source: The Hill

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