Most Don't Want US Involved in Israel-Palestinian Deal

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Israel's new government was sworn in Monday, just two days before President Obama arrives on his first visit as president.

U.S. flags are going up around Israel for the first presidential visit in four years and business for flag makers in central Israel is booming.

Both Israel and the Palestinians have their own agendas for the visit, but a new poll shows most Americans don't want the U.S. to take the lead in negotiations.

Although the welcome in Israel will be friendly, Americans are not optimistic about what the Obama administration can accomplish there.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Americans sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians by a big margin, 55 percent to 9 percent, with the rest favoring neither or undecided.

But an overwhelming majority, 70 percent, want the U.S. to leave a solution to the conflict to Israel and the Palestinians themselves. That's a 15 point jump from the last poll 11 years ago.

Unfortunately, Israelis won't have much time to digest the meaning of their newly sworn-in government. The anticipated visitors has everyone in preparation mode.

At Jerusalem's historic King David Hotel, the staff is working overtime because the president will arrive just before the Passover holiday.

"Kitchen will be open 24 hours a day, with special menus, and we're looking forward to this," Eran Geffen, a sous chef at the King David Hotel, said.

"No matter what happens on the diplomatic front, security will be tight, to say the least," Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

There's a large amount of cooperation which is also taking place between the Israeli Police and American security, and this is the most important visit that is taking place since President George W. Bush's visit in 2009.

In Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem, the security concerns multiply. U.S. officials inspected the Church of the Nativity this weekend. But in Ramallah signs indicate that the president might get a less than friendly reception.

It's the beginning of yet another battle for world public opinion before the president arrives on Wednesday.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.