Americans are split evenly on whether to apply more pressure on Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, an Associated Press poll found.
President Bush's postwar formula for a Mideast settlement calls on Israel to trade land for peace. The United States wants Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians, but Israel considers its chosen representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization, a terrorist group.The poll of 1,005 adults questioned by telephone Wednesday through Sunday found a 42-to-42 percent split on applying more pressure on Israel to talk with the Palestinians.
M.T. Mehdi, president of the American-Arab Relations Committee, said he saw "a very important change" in the poll results. Ten years ago only about 10 percent would have supported applying more pressure, he said.
Other findings showed the Persian Gulf war had some clear winners and losers in terms of public opinion.
Fifty-five percent of those questioned said the war left them with increased respect for Israel. While opinion of the PLO didn't change for most, one in four said they lost respect for the organization.
Three in seven Americans said they lost respect for Jordan, which like the PLO expressed support for Iraq in the war. About half, 52 percent, gained respect for Saudi Arabia.