Israel-Gaza Ceasefire: In both Canada and US, majority say hostilities should end immediately

Two-in-five say permanent ceasefire needed, one-in-five would pause fighting temporarily   

June 6, 2024 – U.S. President Joe Biden made his strongest statement against the Israeli military action in Gaza to date last week when he called for an end to hostilities. His proposal for  ceasefire was quickly supported by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In stating that it is “time for this war to end”, Biden evidently reflects the views of many Canadians and Americans.

New data in a cross-border study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds two-in-five in each of Canada and the United States supporting a full, immediate ceasefire, with another one-in-five saying that a temporary ceasefire is needed. A smaller number – approximately one-in-five in both countries – disagrees that any ceasefire should be called, while many in each country have no firm views.

Click below to see Key Takeaways from the data.

While three-in-five in both Canada and the United States say the time for a ceasefire is now, the proportion saying this should be permanent has risen 13 points in Canada compared to November and 10 points in the United States:

Among both those who say they would vote for Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives in Canada if a federal election were held, or Trump in the United States in the federal election, proportion who would not implement any ceasefire rises above one-in-three:

In Canada, respondents are divided evenly in sympathizing with Israel (25%), the Palestinians (28%) or both. This is a shift toward the Palestinians (+10 points) since November. A similar but less intense shift is evident in the U.S.:

A majority of Canadians (53%) now say Israel’s response has been too heavy handed. In the United States, a plurality disagreed with this statement in November and now agrees with it:

Respondents were asked based on what they have read, seen, or heard, whether they feel they would charge the Israeli or Hamas leadership with war crimes, as the ICC recently filed. Broad agreement exists that Hamas leaders should be charged. 

Fewer than three-in-ten likely CPC voters in Canada (27%) and Trump supporters in the U.S. (29%) believe Israeli President Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant should face charges. For all other political groups, at least two-thirds say the Israeli leaders should “probably” or “absolutely” be charged with war crimes:

Neither Canada nor the U.S. currently formally recognizes the Palestinian state. Majorities in both countries would do so: 

The Full Story

INDEX

Part One: Majority say ceasefire needed; plurality say it should be permanent

  • Two-in-five say full ceasefire should be called, similar support in Canada and U.S.

Part Two: Sympathies shift toward Palestinians as Israeli response questioned

Part Three: Should leaders be charged with war crimes?

Part Four: Majorities in both countries would recognize Palestinian state

 

Part One: Majority say ceasefire needed; plurality say it should be permanent

The war in Gaza continues, eight months on from Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel that killed at least 1,200 and saw Hamas kidnap more than 250 others. In recent weeks, international pressure on Israel to ends its combat operations in the Gaza strip has increased as the death toll continues to rise. The Ministry of Health in Gaza – part of the Hamas-run government – estimates more than 35,000 people have died in Gaza since the war began, including both Hamas combatants and civilians.

In Canada, attention to the conflict remains high. At least three-quarters of Canadians have said they have been following the war in the news and discussing it with friends and family whenever the Angus Reid Institute have surveyed on the subject (see detailed tables).

A majority (64%) of Americans are also following the war closely (see detailed tables).

Related:

Two-in-five say full ceasefire should be called, similar support in Canada and U.S.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden said it was “time for this war to end”, arguing the Israel’s invasion of Gaza had weakened Hamas to the point where it was no longer able to carry out an attack on the same scale as the one on Oct. 7. The president said Israel had proposed a three-phase deal which included both a ceasefire and the release of hostages by Hamas. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the deal Biden released as “incomplete”, disagreeing with U.S. officials. Comments by Biden to Time magazine insinuating that Netanyahu was extending the war for political gain further increased tensions between Israel and the U.S., and cast further doubt on the likeliness of Israel accepting a ceasefire deal.

Public opinion appears to be shifting as the war continues. A majority of Canadians (63%) and Americans (57%) believe a ceasefire should be called, including at least two-in-five in both countries who believe the ceasefire should be lasting. In Canada, the proportion calling for a permanent ceasefire has increased by 13 points since November; in the U.S., by 10:

Age is a driving factor on both sides of the border of believe as to whether it is time for a cessation of hostilities. Younger adults in both countries are more likely to call for a full ceasefire. However, a majority of all Canadian and American age groups believe a ceasefire, temporary or full, should be implemented, with the exception of Americans older than 54, of whom only half (49%) say there should be a deal to end the conflict. Americans of that age are the most likely to say it is not time for a ceasefire:

Canadians and Americans who say they would support right-of-centre options on the ballot if elections were held today in their respective countries are more divided on the issue than other likely voters. Nearly as many likely CPC voters believe a ceasefire should be called (38%) as not (37%); similarly, equal sized proportions of those who would vote for former U.S. President Donald Trump believe it is time for the fighting to stop (37%) as not (35%):

To explore the views of Jews and Muslims on this conflict, the Angus Reid Institute surveyed an additional sample of 100 or more Muslims and Jews in Canada. Canadian Jews lean towards believing some sort of ceasefire should be called (50%), but many – two-in-five (42%) – say it is not the time to end the conflict. Overwhelmingly, Canadian Muslims call for hostilities to end:

Part Two: Sympathies shift toward Palestinians as Israeli response questioned

At the outset of the war, near-equal sized groups of Canadians said their sympathies were shared equally between both sides (31%) or were more with the Israelis (28%). One-in-five (18%) said they sympathised more with the Palestinians. Eight months on, Canadians’ sympathies have shifted and are near-evenly divided between lying mostly with the Palestinians (28%), the Israelis (25%) or both sides (27%). This represents a 10-point gain in the proportion of Canadians who say they sympathize more with the Palestinians.

American sympathies now resemble Canadian sentiment from the outset of the war, which represents a shift, but one not as dramatic as that seen north of the border. In November, Americans who sympathised more with the Israelis outnumbered those who sympathized primarily with Palestinians by nearly three-to-one. The gap between those groups has decreased to 12-points:

Sympathies vary by age in both countries with younger adults on both sides of the border saying they are more likely to sympathise with the Palestinians than the Israelis. However, in Canada, a plurality (43%) of 18- to 34-year-olds say they feel more affinity for the Palestinians, outnumbering the proportion in that age group who say their sympathies are even between both groups (22%) and lie more with the Israelis (15%) combined:

Likely NDP voters are the only political grouping on either side of the border that say they feel more affinity for the Palestinians in this conflict at a majority level (54%). Americans who would vote for Donald Trump if the presidential election were today sympathise with the Israelis at a majority level (52%), while half (49%) of Canadians who would vote Conservative if a federal election were held say the same:

The shift in sympathies coincides with a growing view among Canadians and Americans that Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attack has been too heavy handed. In November, Canadians leaned towards believing that was the case, while Americans were more likely to disagree than agree. Now, a majority of Canadians (53%) and plurality of Americans (41%) agree that Israel’s response has been disproportionate:

Likely CPC voters and those who say they would vote for Trump if the presidential election were today disagree that Israel has responded too severely to the Oct. 7 terrorist attack at a majority level. A majority of all other groups of political supporters in both countries believe the response has been too heavy handed (see detailed tables for Canada, the U.S.).

Part Three: Should leaders be charged with war crimes?

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said in May the court was seeking arrest warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity for Netanyahu, Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh. The application is under review by ICC judges. Previously, the ICC had issued a similar warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Neither Israel nor the United States are members of the ICC and do not recognize its authority.

The ICC accused Netanyahu and Gallant of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in the conflict.” The Hamas leaders are accused of “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention.”

A majority (53%) of Canadians believe Netanyahu and Gallant should “absolutely” or “probably” be charged for war crimes. Americans, as well, are more likely to believe the Israeli leaders should be charged (46%) than not. There are sizable groups on both sides of the border that aren’t sure (21% Canada, 28% U.S.):

There is much more consensus and certainty of belief among Americans and Canadians that senior Hamas leadership should be charged with war crimes for their actions beginning on Oct. 7 and throughout the war. A majority in Canada (57%) and half of Americans (50%) believe Sinwar, al-Masri and Haniyeh should “absolutely” be charged with war crimes, while a further one-in-five in both countries believe charges “probably” should be filed. Both nations recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.

While there is broad agreement across political lines that Hamas leaders should be charged with war crimes, there is disagreement when it comes to the potential ICC charges filed against Israeli leadership. Fewer than three-in-ten likely CPC voters in Canada (27%) and Trump supporters in the U.S. (29%) believe Netanyahu and Gallant should face charges. For all other political groups, at least two-thirds say the Israeli leaders should “probably” or “absolutely” be charged with war crimes:

 

Part Four: Majorities in both countries would recognize Palestinian state

While most Canadians and Americans believe there is a need for a ceasefire, majorities also believe Hamas is a barrier to lasting peace in Israel. Though adults younger than 35 in both countries are more likely to disagree, at least two-in-five 18- to 34-year-olds in Canada (45%, see detailed tables) and half in the U.S. (50%, see detailed tables) believe peace in Israel will not happen with Hamas still in Gaza:

Canada currently does not recognize Palestine as a state and moves towards official recognition have proven controversial. A motion filed by the NDP in March for Canada to officially recognize Palestine was passed in the House of Commons only after it was amended by the Liberals to instead say Canada would “work with international partners” to work “towards the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution.” It nearly resulted in Liberal MP Anthony Housefather leaving the party, as he argued the motion “rewards Hamas.” In May, Canada abstained from a U.N. vote granting new rights to Palestinian representatives.

The U.S. also does not recognize an independent Palestinian state, but that could change when the war in Gaza ends, according to reports in February. In the interim, the U.S. used its U.N. security council veto to block the U.N. from recognizing a Palestinian state by granting it full membership to the United Nations in April.

In both countries, majorities say their governments should recognize an independent Palestinian state. Palestine state-recognition is opposed by a majority of likely CPC voters (69%, see detailed tables) and those who say they would vote for Trump if the presidential election were held today (65%, see detailed tables).

METHODOLOGY

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 24-28, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 1,603 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

ARI conducted a second online survey from May 24-28, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 2,024 American adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum USA. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Both surveys were self-commissioned and paid for by ARI. Detailed tables are found at the end of this release.

For detailed results for Canadian respondents by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results for American respondents by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For full release including methodology, click here.

For full questionnaire, click here.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org        

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