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Middle East Unrest

44 Percent Say Israel's Actions in Gaza are Justified

Image: Israel withdraws from Gaza as truce takes effect

epa04341710 A Palestinian boy inspects rubble of their destroyed houses in Khoza-a neighbourhood in the east of Khanyounis town in the southern Gaza Strip, 05 August 2014. Israeli pulled its last soldiers out of the Gaza Strip on 05 Augast 2014, as a 72-our truce went into effect after exactly four weeks of fighting with the Palestinian militants. The Israeli army said its ground troops had withdrawn to the Israeli side of the border and would respond to any attacks. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER MOHAMMED SABER / EPA

More than four in ten Americans say that Israel’s military actions in Gaza are justified, while about a quarter say that Israel has gone too far, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

In the new poll, 44 percent of respondents said that they believe Israel is defending its interests and that its actions are justifiable. Twenty-four percent said that Israel’s military actions are not justified, while 32 percent said they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

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The American public’s views about U.S. support for Israel and Palestine also remain virtually unchanged from last year.

In the survey, 34 percent of respondents said that the United States should favor Israelis over Palestinians, while just four percent said the opposite. About half – 53 percent – said that the United States should treat Israelis and Palestinians the same.

Those numbers are nearly identical to the results of a NBC/WSJ poll in February of last year, when 31 percent said the United States should favor Israel, four percent said Americans should support Palestine more, and 55 percent said both should support both equally.

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While the United States remains a staunch ally of Israel, United Nations and American officials have issued their strongest statements to date in recent days condemning the violence's impact on civilians. “We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier this week after an IDF airstrike targeting three militants killed at least ten people outside a U.N.-run school. "The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians."

The poll was conducted between July 30 and August 3. The margin of error for questions about the conflict in Gaza is +/- 4.4%

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