Less than half of all Americans believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is committed to peace, according to a new survey commissioned by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.
The findings of the poll also point to a sharp decline in support for Israel in the United States, Germany, France and Sweden, and showed that Israel's standing in German public opinion is at its lowest since 2008, Greenberg said.
Greenberg, who has previously conducted polls for Labor chairman Ehud Barak, carried out the poll for The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy NGO based in the United States. Last week, Greenberg and a few of the organization's executives visited Israel, where they presented officials here with the findings. They met with President Shimon Peres and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, and the poll results were also believed to have been shown to aides in the Prime Minister's Bureau.
Forty-five percent of American survey respondents said in July that they thought the Netanyahu government was intent on striking a peace deal with the Palestinians, while 39 percent said they didn't believe the government was committed to reaching an agreement.
The proportion who think Israel is committed to peace has dropped precipitously since December 2007, just a few weeks after the Annapolis peace conference, when 66 percent of respondents said the coalition headed by then-prime minister Ehud Olmert was committed to peace.
In June 2009, a month after Netanyahu's first visit to the Obama White House, 46 percent of Americans said they thought the government was committed. That number rose to 53 percent in May and June of this year but dropped back down, to 45 percent, in July.
The poll also found a steady drop in the proportion of Americans who think the United States needs to support Israel. In August 2009, 63 percent of American respondents answered in the affirmative. In June of this year, just 58 percent said the United States needs to back Israel. In July, the percentage dropped to 51.
Greenberg said the decrease could be attributed to the weakening of Israel's standing in the eyes of American liberals.
Among the German respondents, just 19 percent said they felt either warm or very warm toward Israel, and half said they felt cool or very cool toward Israel.
The Germans view the Palestinians in a softer light, with about a quarter (26 percent) saying they felt warm toward Palestinians and 39 percent saying they felt cool.
In France, 24 percent said they felt warm toward Israel and 31 percent said they did not.