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War on Gaza: More young Americans favour Palestinians than Israelis, new poll says

Pew poll finds that half of Americans don't know the Palestinian or Israeli death toll in Gaza war
People supporting Palestine take part in the 'March for Gaza' in Washington DC, on 2 March 2024 (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
People supporting Palestine take part in the 'March for Gaza' in Washington DC, on 2 March 2024 (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

More young Americans have favourable views of Palestinians than they do of Israelis in the current war in Gaza, while about half of the US population doesn't know which side has a higher death toll, according to a new poll by Pew Research Center.

The poll is the latest research conducted on American attitudes toward Israel's war, which began in October. It found that 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 expressed favourable views of the Palestinian people, while 46 percent had favourable views of the Israeli people.

Pew's findings come after a Gallup poll published earlier this month found that 38 percent of young adults between the ages of 18-34 had favourable views of Israel, a drop of 26 percent from the year prior.

Still, while attitudes appear to be shifting among younger Americans, more broadly the poll found that most Americans were unaware of the realities on the ground in Gaza.

The Pew poll found that 48 percent of Americans did not know whether the death count in the war was higher for Israelis or Palestinians.

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The death toll for Israel in the 7 October attacks led by Hamas is around 1,200 people, while more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Some journalists have blamed US media coverage for the lack of awareness of either death toll, which Palestinian Americans have criticised as being largely skewed in Israel's favour.

The poll was conducted in February and sampled 12,693 adults in the US and has a margin of error of 1.5 percentage points.

Over the past two decades, Israel has received largely favourable sentiments in the US. However, in the last several years, polls have shown a slight shift in those views, with more Americans expressing sympathy with the Palestinians.

Several polls over the past few months have found more Americans with critical views of Israel's treatment of Palestinians both in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

A December poll from The New York Times/Siena College found that half of young Americans believe Israel is intentionally killing civilians in Gaza. And a January poll from the Economist found that 35 percent of Americans believe Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians.

The war in Gaza has also elicited a major response within the US, with mass pro-Palestinian rallies regularly taking place across the country in major cities.

Since 7 October, there have been 6,304 pro-Palestine protests and other actions across the US, compared with 971 pro-Israel rallies and actions that took place within the country, according to the Crowd Counting Consortium, a public service project that tracks nonviolent protests.

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