Here are some numbers President Obama should think about: Americans currently view him less favorably than they do UN recognition of Palestine! Obama’s approval rating is 43% while 45% support Palestine.
In a poll conducted for the BBC, Americans (among 20,446 citizens from 19 countries) were asked the following question:
As you may know, the Palestinian Authority is planning to request that the UN General Assembly recognize the Palestinian Territories as a state and as a member of the UN. Do you think [RESPONDENT’S COUNTRY] should vote for or against this request?
The response from Americans was 45% in favor, 36% opposed, 2% abstain, 17% undecided.
Globally, the public is five to two in favor of UN recognition of Palestine.
Even though less than a majority of Americans polled support the move, that number along with the large number who are undecided, needs to be put into perspective.
US media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is heavily skewed in favor of the Israelis. Israel’s political leaders and Israel’s American supporters have characterized the Palestinian initiative as an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state. The Palestinians do not have a charismatic leader whose face can serve as an iconic, positive and internationally recognized image of Palestinian nationalism. And yet in spite of the prevailing pressure to oppose the move, more Americans than those who think otherwise, support Palestine’s admission to the UN.
Most likely, this has much less to do with an interest or understanding of the conflict than it is an expression of an idea that most Americans readily accept: people should be allowed to govern themselves.