Rest Of World Refuses To Take Sides In Latest Cycle Of Middle East Conflict

Majority In 32 Nation Ipsos-Reid Poll Support "Neither Side"

Rest Of World Refuses To Take Sides In Latest Cycle Of Middle East Conflict

New York, January 11, 2001: Results of the latest Ipsos-Reid global poll show that the majority of the world doesn't want to take sides in the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When asked which side they tended to support more, 55% of the adults polled in 32 countries answered "neither side." Support was almost equally divided between the Israelis (15%) and the Palestinians (13%), while the remaining 17% gave a "don't know" response to the issue.

Even in the United States, where public opinion has long been favorable to the Israeli cause, only 30% of Americans would go so far as to support Israel more. The majority (60%) opted for "neither side" and a scant 6% supported the Palestinian side.

The Palestinian side gains the support of a majority of the population only in countries with an Islamic heritage, such as Indonesia (58%), Turkey (54%) and Malaysia (41%). Outright support for Israel seems to be less evident, reaching as high as 30% only in the United States and in the Philippines.

Follow-up questions in the poll also gauged support for Palestinians sovereignty as well as Israel's right to security. Global opinion supports both alternatives - half of those polled (51%) supported Israel's right to a secure state, but almost as many (45%) support the Palestinian right to a sovereign state. Almost three in four Americans (71%) support Israel's security rights but half (52%) also acknowledge that the Palestinians have a right to their own sovereign state.

"World opinion is seeing two sides to this conflict," observed Ipsos-Reid Chairman & CEO, Dr. Angus Reid. "It's not possible for either side to claim that they have the unequivocal support of public opinion anywhere in the world."

Support for Israel's security was highest in Germany (83%), the US and the Netherlands (71%) and France (70%). Palestinian sovereignty drew the most support in Germany and Indonesia, (75%) as well as Sweden (64%).

"People are telling us they're not exclusively pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian, but ready to grant that each side has its own legitimate interests that the other side needs to respect," commented Reid. "In that respect world opinion has moved on and stopped looking at conflict in the region as a proxy war between the superpowers or the forces of good and evil."

Results within each country are accurate within plus/minus 5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Results for the U.S. have a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Interviews were conducted with 18,650 adults in 32 countries last November and December.

Ipsos-Reid has been tracking public opinion around the world for more than 20 years and has become a leading provider of global public opinion and market research to private, public, and not-for-profit organizations in over 50 countries. It is a member of Paris-based Ipsos Group, ranked among the top ten research groups in the world.

For further information, please contact:

Gus Schattenberg, Vice President, Ipsos Reid, Vancouver, 604-893-1606

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