By Rebecca Shabad - 07/29/14 08:04 AM EDT
More Americans say Hamas is more responsible for the current conflict in the Middle East than Israel in a Pew survey released Monday.
A quarter of the public said they think Israel has gone too far in responding to the conflict. Just over a third said Israel’s response has been about right, and 15 percent said Israel hasn’t gone far enough.
Forty percent said they blame Hamas, while 19 percent said they blame Israel.
The poll found 60 percent of Republicans said Hamas is most responsible for the current violence; Democrats are more divided. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats said Hamas is responsible, while 26 percent said Israel should be to blame and 18 percent said both sides are responsible.
Just over a third of Democrats said Israel has gone too far, 31 percent said their efforts have been about right and 9 percent said Israel hasn’t gone far enough.
Older Americans expressed stronger support for Israel in the survey. A plurality of 39 percent of people over 50 said Israel’s response has been about right. Twenty-two percent said Israel has gone too far.
Among people under 50, 29 percent said Israel has been excessive while 33 percent said its efforts have been justified.
The survey comes as the Israeli Defense Forces ramped up their operation inside the Gaza Strip on Monday, suggesting prospects of an immediate cease-fire were becoming unlikely. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel to prepare for a “prolonged” operation, which has left more than 1,000 Palestinians inside Gaza dead. More than 50 Israelis have died in the conflict.
The poll surveyed 1,005 adults between July 24 and 27 with a 3.6 percentage point margin of error.