Americans’ shifting views on the palestinian-israeli conflict

Eytan Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Scopus citations


As the worldwide mass demonstrations during the latest war between Israel and Hamas vividly illustrate, every conflict is fought twice: first on the battlefield, then in public opinion. Having failed to destroy the State of Israel upon its birth and in ensuing decades of terrorism, the Palestinians waged a sustained propaganda battle to win over Western hearts and minds, especially in the United States, the foremost world power and Israel's staunchest and most longstanding ally.

Turning Israel's struggle for survival upside down—with aggressors turned into hapless victims and vice versa—the fake Palestinian narrative of unblemished victimhood has made inroads into American public opinion. This has been especially true since the onset of the Oslo "peace process," which transformed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) overnight from the world's leading terror organization into a (supposed) peaceable political actor.

Yet, examination of American attitudes toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the past two decades, as reflected in national public opinion surveys during this period, reveals stable and highly favorable feelings toward Israel, albeit not without some widening fissures, and unfavorable, if somewhat improving, attitudes toward the Palestinians. Indeed, even the foremost indicator of the improving Palestinian image—the growing support for the establishment of a Palestinian state within the framework of the two-state solution—is not only a corollary of pro-Palestinian sentiments but also of the widespread belief that, as the only (perceived) road to peace, such a move is in Israel's best interests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMiddle East Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021


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