Americans, Britons and Canadians Hesitant on Middle East Talks

Americans are more likely to believe that their own head of state sympathizes more with the Palestinians.

People in the United States, Canada and Britain have reacted with skepticism to the announcement of high level talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of representative national samples also found that Britons and Canadians are more likely to regard their respective prime ministers as pro-Israel, while Americans are slightly more likely to believe that their head of state sympathizes with the Palestinians.


A large proportion of respondents in the three countries do not express sympathy for either of the two sides in the Middle East dispute. Americans favour Israel over the Palestinians (27% to 5%), while Britons pick the Palestinians ahead of Israel (19% to 10%). Canadians are evenly divided in their assessment (13% for Israel; 13% for the Palestinians).

Respondents in the three countries were also asked about the sympathies of their respective heads of government. Canadians clearly think of Stephen Harper as pro-Israel (36%) and Britons feel the same way about David Cameron (21%). In the United States, 18 per cent of respondents think Barack Obama sympathizes more with the Palestinians, while 15 per cent believe he is more considerate to the Israelis.

The Negotiations

Respondents in the three countries express doubts about the direct negotiations towards a peace agreement that have begun between Israel and the Palestinians. Three-in-four Canadians (79%) and Britons (78%) and two thirds of Americans (68%) say they are “not too confident” or “not confident at all” that the talks will be successful.

Creation of a New State

Since April, the proportion of respondents in the three countries who support the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip living side-by-side with Israel has increased markedly. More than half of Britons (58%, +8) and Canadians (54%, +7) support this course of action, along with two-in-five Americans (45%, +7). It is important to note that at least one-in-three respondents in each country are undecided.

A Solution to the Conflict

At least one third of respondents in the three countries (38% in the U.S., 34% in Britain and 41% in Canada) believe that a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will never be reached. Less than one-in-five expect a solution in the next five years (USA19%, BRI 17%, CAN 14%).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

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