As American sentiment toward the Israel-Palestine conflict continues to shift amid the ongoing reports of terror, young Americans tend to be more pro-Palestine than other age groups.
A Pew Research report found that overall, Americans have more positive feelings toward Israel than Palestine—however, the gaps in attitude are noticeable between young and old Americans.
American adults under 30 said they view Palestinian people as very or somewhat favorable 61 percent of the time, while they see Israeli people warmly only 56 percent of the time.
This was in relative contrast to the general population, which saw Israeli people positively two-thirds of the time compared to just 52 percent of the time for Palestinians.
And for those aged 65 and over, 78 percent viewed Israeli people favorably while just 47 percent saw Palestinians favorably.
Altogether, adults under 30 were much more likely than older Americans to view the Israeli people unfavorably but the Palestinians favorably. The same was true when it came to views on the Israeli and Palestinian governments among age groups, meaning Israel could struggle to gain their support moving forward.
The war has already claimed 2,200 lives on both sides, according to the Associated Press, after Hamas militants made a surprise attack against Israeli towns, killing at least 250 and abducting others on Saturday.
Since then, Israel has gone on the offensive, issuing airstrikes that killed several hundreds in the Gaza Strip. With no sign of the conflict ending, Americans have been publicly supporting both sides of the war. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has confirmed several Americans were captured during the Hamas attack and called out the “sheer evil” of Hamas militants.
Concerning the views of both groups just a few months prior to the attacks, Americans were relatively divided in both age and political party.
Political parties revealed a key distinction in how Republicans and Democrats view the growing conflict. Republicans were far more positive toward Israeli people, with 78 percent very or somewhat favorable, while they saw Palestine people warmly just 37 percent of the time.
Among Democrats, Americans were about equally pro-Israeli and Palestinian people, with 60 and 64 percent favorable toward the groups.
The difference in viewpoints represents a stark difference in how many view the ongoing conflict in the Middle East region.
Support for Palestine has reached historic highs in recent years as some Americans attribute Israel’s occupation of land there as “ethnic cleansing.”
“It’s not a conflict, it’s an occupation, it’s apartheid. It’s not evictions, it’s ethnic cleansing. [Palestinians] didn’t get kicked out because they didn’t pay rent but because they’re not Jews,” Amer Zahr, a Palestinian-American activist and president of New Generation for Palestine, told Time previously.
Post World War 2, Jewish people initially fled persecution in Europe to establish a Jewish state in the land that was previously occupied by an Arab and Muslim majority. Over the course of several decades, the two groups have fought over this land before the reignition of conflict this past weekend.
Conflict Resolution Views
Israel and Palestine have been in conflict since the founding of the modern state of Israel, but there’s still no clear consensus among Americans about the best way to resolve the conflict, the Pew study shows.
One-third of the general public believe splitting the land into two countries would be best, but around the same number, 27 percent, would like a single state to emerge. And around the same number (37 percent) said they do not know what would be the best outcome.
Once again, there were differences in how young and old Americans saw the issue. Older Americans preferred a two-state solution while younger Americans were less certain of the best solution.
The survey analyzed the viewpoints of 10,441 U.S. adults in March, months before Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israeli civilians or Israel headed a counter-airstrike.