Americans remain supportive of Israel in the conflict with Palestine, according to a new Gallup poll.
Results released Feb. 29 showed 62 percent of Americans were sympathetic to the Israelis, while 15 percent sided with the Palestinians. Nine percent said they did not sympathize with either side, and 11 percent expressed no opinion on the matter.
Sympathy for Israel has been consistent over the last 15 years, though it increased significantly in 2006. The spike followed the Palestinian elections that saw members of the terrorist group Hamas win a majority of parliamentary seats. Since 2006, support for Israel has not gone below 58 percent.
The conflict has been a subject of debate among presidential candidates.
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Republican frontrunner Donald Trump discussed the conflict in Houston on Feb. 25, Breaking Israel News reported. During the final debate before Super Tuesday, Trump said he would not pick a side:
I think [President Barack Obama] has treated Israel horribly … I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received … many of the greatest awards given by Israel. As president, however, there’s nothing that I would rather do [than] bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation of anywhere in the world, of any kind, OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying I’m very pro-Israel, very pro-Israel, more than anybody on this stage. It doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors [of Israel].
Trump's position was criticized by fellow candidates Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who called his neutrality unacceptable.
"[The next president] needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel," Rubio said. "I will be on a side. I will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free-enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East."
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"This is another area on which Donald agrees with Hillary Clinton -- and on which I disagree with them both strongly," Cruz said. "Both Donald and Hillary Clinton want to be 'neutral,' to use Donald’s word, between Israel and the Palestinians. Let me be clear: If I’m president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel."