As the conflict in Gaza enters its third week, polls show most Americans are still supportive of Israel — in part, analysts say, because of the Arab Spring’s failures to spread democracy, the New York Times reports:
A CNN/ORC International poll found that a majority of Americans — 57 percent — believe that Israel’s military actions in Gaza are justified, with only four in 10 saying that Israel has used too much force. The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, echoed a similar one conducted earlier during the latest conflict — July 8 to 14 — in which the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans sympathized with Israel, compared with 14 percent who sympathized with the Palestinians.
Americans perceive Israelis “more or less the way they perceive themselves, as a democratic entity,” said Aaron David Miller, a former American Middle East adviser in Republican and Democratic administrations.
Mr. Miller, now a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that reinforcing that bond has been the failure, so far, of the Arab Spring democracy movement.
“The region is so broken, angry, and dysfunctional that they serve as effective talking points for Israel” in comparison, Mr. Miller said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian struggle for statehood has slipped down the agenda of priorities for the region’s people and governments, analyst Roula Khalaf writes for the Financial Times.
“The circumstances of the region are different this time. There are problems no less important than Gaza – whether in Syria, Iraq or Libya,” says Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian official who now teaches at Birzeit University near the West Bank town of Ramallah.
“But there’s also another sad element: that for the first time Gaza is caught up in a regional power struggle, particularly between Egypt and Qatar, and that weakens the Arab stance.”
Calling on Palestinian officials to recognise a new reality in the Arab world, Ghassan Charbel, editor of the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, laments that the Palestinian struggle for statehood has receded as a priority.
“The war in Gaza is taking place in a different region now,” he wrote in a recent column.