Despite reports of deteriorating ties between Israel and the United States due to disagreements on settlement construction in the West Bank and US President Barack Obama‘s efforts to strengthen ties with the Arab and Muslim world, most Americans continue to view Israel as a close friend and regard Arab states with suspicion.
A new poll by the American Rasmussen polling firm showed that 70% of Americans say Israel is an ally, as opposed to 8% that view Israel as an enemy. None of the eight Muslim states included in the poll came close to the positive approach most Americans hold towards Israel.
Eighty-one percent of the respondents said the Palestinian leaders must recognize Israel’s right to exist as part of a Middle East peace agreement.
The poll, that was held last week, showed that 70% of Americans believe Iran to be an enemy of their country. Only 5% view the Islamic Republic as an ally. According to the poll, Iran and North Korea come off to the US public as the two countries that pose the greatest security threat to the United States.
Regarding relations between the US and the Muslim world, 39% of the respondents said they believe Egypt to be an ally of the US, while only 23% view Saudi Arabia as an ally.
Eight years after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, 25% of American view Saudi Arabia, which was home to some of the 9/11 terrorists, as an enemy.
American support of other Muslim nations, including Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which still have US soldier operating within, was even lower. According to the poll, Americans are not fond of Iraq, despite President Obama’s promise that all troops will be completely pulled out of the Middle Eastern nation within two years.
Forty-one percent of Americans still view Iraq as an enemy state and only 17% view it as a friendly nation. Sixty-four percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq is not yet over.
The poll also showed that 40% of respondents view Afghanistan as an enemy state and only 15% view it as a friend. Americans oppose direct talks with the Taliban and 83% expect Obama to send more troops to the country.
Only 12% of the respondents said they view Pakistan as an ally, while 28% view it as an enemy state.