Biden and Netanyahu: US backing for Zionist Israel is deeply resented

Losing battle of ideas

Not surprisingly people in the Arab world have deep sympathy for the Palestinians. They also view the US, Germany, France and Britain negatively - a cause of deep concern for US-aligned rulers. Then there are the Palestinians themselves. Yassamine Mather reports on some recent surveys

Let me start by expressing concerns about polls conducted during war or conflict situations. Such polls can be problematic, as the results may be influenced by fear, misinformation and the chaotic environment, potentially leading to skewed or unreliable data.

Having said that, there is some consistency about polls conducted in Gaza and the West Bank before October 7 - both in terms of what the Arab Barometer organisation reports and studies by Princeton University researchers, who conducted face-to-face interviews in both regions.

One point we can make with absolute confidence is a repudiation of claims by the Israeli Defence Force commanders and Zionist ministers that the entire population of Gaza were supporters of Hamas and therefore mass murder of such citizens is somehow justified.

First of all, in October 2023, more than half of the population in Gaza who were born after 2006 had no vote in the elections won by Hamas - 74% of the population participated in those elections and 44% voted for Hamas, as opposed to 41% for Fatah. Of course, genocide of an entire population is abhorrent under any circumstances, but to justify this by claiming that all Gazans supported Hamas and therefore should be treated as ‘terrorists’ is a big lie that ought to be exposed.


I will start by dealing with polls taken before October 7 in both Gaza and the West Bank. They are based on The Arab Barometer’s eighth and most recent survey of Palestinians, conducted in person, which encompassed 1,189 people aged 18 and over.

Corruption: a significant portion of those polled expressed a lack of trust in their political institutions, including both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. Only 23% indicated having a great deal or quite a lot of trust in Hamas, while a majority (52%) had no trust at all in the group. This widespread distrust extended to the PA.

Economic situation: nearly 80% of respondents rated economic conditions as bad or very bad. Not surprisingly, 75% of Gaza’s residents reported ‘food insecurity’ - a significant increase from 2022. Moreover, only 44% of Gazans stated they have enough food and water for even just a day or two, highlighting the severity of their plight. Their outlook on the future was equally pessimistic, with 56% believing that the economic situation will worsen in the coming years.

Political situation: the political landscape is marked by dissatisfaction and a sense of instability. A substantial majority of Palestinians view the political environment as problematic, with many citing it as one of the top challenges alongside economic woes. The legitimacy of both Hamas and the PA was questioned, with many Palestinians not feeling represented by their leaders.

At the time, a majority of Palestinians (51%) supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, with slightly more support seen among residents of Gaza than on the West Bank. A quarter of respondents also said they supported “armed resistance” as a preferred solution to Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In summary, these polls show deep-seated issues regarding economic hardship and political legitimacy within Palestinian society, reflecting a population grappling with significant day-to-day problems and scepticism about the future.

Of course, all indications are that Hamas’s popularity in Gaza and especially in the West Bank has risen considerably. Far from blaming the organisation for the war and the current devastation, both in Gaza and the West Bank there is a hardening of political positions and increased support for Hamas. In other words, the Zionist state has managed to achieve the reverse of its stated aim: eliminating Hamas. Instead it has created a more solid base of support, from which the group can surely recruit new fighters.

Outside Gaza

Let me now concentrate on data reported by the Arab Center Washington DC, in cooperation with the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. It has done a survey of public opinion in 16 Arab countries, asking questions about the Israeli war on Gaza, and Arab perceptions of the US role and policies toward the war.

The survey included a set of questions regarding the factors that contributed to the continuation of the Israeli war on Gaza. Focusing on the Hamas attack on October 7, respondents were asked to identify the most and second most important reasons motivating Hamas. The results revealed a variety of perceptions. Specifically, 35% of respondents identified the continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as the most important reason, while 24% cited Israel’s targeting of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Additionally, 8% pointed to the ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip, and 6% attributed it to the continuation of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.

Concerning the factors that enable Israel to continue its war on Gaza, 50% of the Arab public indicated that US military and political support is the most important factor. Meanwhile, 14% pointed to the failure of Arab governments to take decisive measures against Israel to stop the war. Additionally, 11% of respondents cited the recent normalisation agreements between Israel and some Arab regimes, and 10% attributed it to the support of western governments for Israel.

Regarding prospects for peace following the war on Gaza, 59% expressed certainty that there is no possibility for peace with Israel. Additionally, 14% reported having serious doubts, while 9% stated that they never believed in the possibility of peace with Israel to begin with. Only 13% of respondents still believe in the possibility of peace.

79% said they followed the news of the war closely, while only 7% did not follow it at all. Respondents were surveyed to ascertain their perceptions of the US media’s portrayal of the conflict in Gaza. A significant majority (82%) indicated a belief that US media exhibited a bias in favour of Israel. In contrast, a mere 7% perceived the coverage as neutral or unbiased, and only 4% felt it demonstrated a bias in favour of Palestine.

When queried about the reactions of regional and international powers to the conflict, the survey revealed significant dissatisfaction with the US stance. An overwhelming 94% deemed the US position as unfavourable, with 82% categorising it as very unfavourable. In Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, over 50% viewed the US as unreliable. However, in Jordan and Egypt, a majority still saw maintaining relations with the US as important. Not that they have any liking for US policy towards Israel and Palestine.

Similarly, negative perceptions were prevalent regarding European powers. The French position was viewed as bad or very bad by 79%, contrasted with only 10% who considered it good or very good. Likewise, 75% assessed Germany’s position as bad or very bad, compared to 9% who saw it in a positive light. The British position was also criticised, with 78% rating it as bad or very bad, while a mere 8% perceived it positively.

Opinions were more divided concerning the positions of Russia and China, but there was a notable desire among younger respondents (18-29) for stronger economic ties with China. In contrast, the Iranian and Turkish positions received relatively more favourable assessments. The Iranian stance was viewed positively by 48% of respondents, though 37% held a negative view. The Turkish position was evaluated positively by 47% of respondents, compared to 40% who evaluated it negatively.

Russian influence was perceived with a degree of ambivalence. Perceptions varied widely, with some expressing scepticism about its reliability and intentions. In Jordan and Egypt, for instance, Russia was viewed as equally important as the US, but still faced scrutiny regarding its geopolitical manoeuvres and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.


In summary, while there are nuanced and varied perceptions of these global powers across the surveyed Arab countries, significant trends include a general scepticism towards the US and China, increased favourability towards Iran post-October 7, stable and positive views of Turkey, and mixed feelings about Russia’s role in the region. These insights reflect the complex dynamics of global influence and local priorities in the Middle East.

When asked about the countries that most threaten the security and stability of the Arab world, 51% identified US policies as the most threatening, followed by Israel at 26%. Additionally, 7% of respondents pointed to Iranian policies, and 4% cited those of Russia. The perception of the US as the greatest threat has certainly increased following Israel’s war on Gaza.

All this is proof that in the Arab world the US, the EU and Israel lost the battle of ideas long ago and that the war on Gaza has further alienated public opinion. This very much matters to rulers in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are closely aligned to the US. They face not only hostility from the majority of their populations who are unmistakably, often militantly, pro-Palestine: there is also the distinct possibility of plots, plans and conspiracies leading to palace coups - conditions which could allow the open expression of popular anger and the beginning of a concerted fight for democracy, regional unity and socialism.