Gaza flotilla
Israeli naval vessels approach the port of Ashdod on Monday May 31, 2010. Earlier that day, Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza and nine activists were killed. Photo by Reuters
Text size

Nearly half - 49 percent - of likely U.S. voters believe that pro-Palestinian activists were to blame for the deaths that occurred when the Israel Defense Forces raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last week, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Only 19 percent believe that Israel was to blame. Another 32 percent said they were not sure.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed on May 31 when the IDF intercepted six Gaza-bound aid ships. All the deaths occurred on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara vessel. The IDF said its soldiers opened fire in self-defense after being attacked by activists with knives and other weapons.

51 percent of those surveyed said Israel should allow an international investigation of the incident. 25 percent rejected the idea of an international probe and another 24 percent were undecided.

49 percent of U.S. voters agreed that, generally speaking, most countries are too critical of Israel. 21 percent said countries are not critical enough and 17 percent said neither.

Israel is one of only five countries that a majority of Americans are willing to defend militarily.

70 percent of voters said they have been following news reports about the Gaza flotilla incident at least somewhat closely. 28 percent have not been following closely, if at all.

73 percent of voters think it is unlikely that a lasting peace agreement will be reached between Israel and the Palestinians in the next ten years.

58 percent view Israel as a U.S. ally and two percent as an enemy, with 32 percent saying the country is somewhere in between the two.

By comparison, just 30 percent see the United Nations as an ally of the United States. 16 percent see the UN as America’s enemy, and 49% put it somewhere in between.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,000 likely U.S. voters and had a +/-3 percent sampling error margin.