Israeli Poll: Obama Not Pro-Israel

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Israeli perceptions of President Barack Obama's administration as "pro-Israel" have dropped substantially, according to a new poll.  Just 6 percent of Jewish Israeli respondents interviewed this week believe the Obama administration is pro-Israel. 

That compares with 31 percent who considered Obama to have pro-Israel views just one month ago.  The poll was conducted by the Smith Research company and commissioned by The Jerusalem Post.

50 percent of those surveyed said the policies of the Obama White House are more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, while 36 percent said the policies were neutral.

Many analysts attribute the plunging Israeli perception of the president's policies to his call for Israel to stop all construction in Jewish West Bank settlements, including allowances for natural growth of the population. 

Nearly 300,000 Jews live in the West Bank, the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria.  By a firm majority, Israeli Jews support the dismantling of outposts their government has deemed to be illegal. 

But when it comes to halting construction in large settlement blocs such as Ma'ale Adumim and Gush Etzion just outside Jerusalem, and Ariel in Samaria, 69 percent of those surveyed oppose a construction freeze.

In a major address at the beginning of the week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu restated his opposition to the U.S. call for the end to construction in the settlements. 

The poll shows Israelis back the prime minister on this issue, and Netanyahu advisor Zalman Shoval expressed his personal opinion that the Obama adminstration could have more trouble trying to mediate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Some of the indications we have seen in the last few weeks make it more difficult for Israelis to see the U.S. in its traditional role as an honest broker," Shoval said.

Source:  The Jerusalem Post

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