US envoy: Americans ‘equally’ support Israeli self-defense, Gazan rights, two-state solution

Polling suggests that Americans only support a two-state solution by a slim margin.

By Menachem Wecker | | Topics: America, Gaza, Palestinian State
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted by Amy Gutmann, the US ambassador to Germany, as he arrives in Munich, Germany on Feb. 15, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/US State Department.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted by Amy Gutmann, the US ambassador to Germany, as he arrives in Munich, Germany on Feb. 15, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/US State Department.

Echoing remarks marking the month of Ramadan from US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Amy Gutmann, the US ambassador to Germany, stated that the Muslim holy month comes “at a time of conflict and pain for many Muslim communities.”

Biden’s statement only singled Gaza out, but Gutmann, using the exact words that Blinken did, referred to the “Uyghurs in Xinjiang, Rohingya in Burma and Bangladesh and Palestinians in Gaza.”

“The heart-wrenching news every day out of Gaza makes the message of Ramadan especially powerful,” the US envoy in Berlin stated.

“President Biden, I and the American people stand equally strong for three important moral positions. And I stress the word ‘equally,’” she said. “These are Israel’s right to defend itself, the rights of the people in Gaza, the overwhelming majority of whom had nothing to do with the Oct. 7 attacks, and the need for a two-state solution.”

“We strongly believe these three priorities are essential and compatible,” she added.

Recent polling suggests there are vast differences in the ways that Americans view the three “moral positions” on which the ambassador stated that Americans “stand equally strong.”

Americans support an independent Palestinian state by just a “slim majority” of 53%, with 34% opposed, according to Gallup’s Feb. 1-20 World Affairs survey. Those numbers are “essentially unchanged” from 2023 and “generally similar” to Gallup’s results since 2019, it stated.

“Before that, Americans were more likely to favor than oppose an independent Palestinian state, but support was generally below the majority level, with higher percentages not expressing an opinion either way,” it added.

There are also “vast” political differences, with 74% of Democrats, 55% of independents and 26% of Republicans favoring an independent state, and most Republicans (59%) oppose such a state, per Gallup.

The Gallup survey suggested that many more Americans support Israelis more than Palestinians (51%), while 27% support Palestinians more. The rest don’t favor either more (10%), don’t have a view on the matter (8%) or side equally with both (4%).

Pew Research Center data released in early December also suggest that US support for a two-state solution is much narrower than support for Israeli self-defense and the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

Pew’s research suggested that 52% of Americans say a two-state solution “is still possible in the future,” while 45% said such a state is impossible, with 62% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans to believe that Israeli and a Palestinian states can coexist side-by-side in peace.

A Dec. 13-14 online survey of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that 63% of respondents believed that Israel was just trying to defend itself, compared to 37% that said Israel was committing genocide in Gaza. An overwhelming majority (81%) said that Israel has a right “to defend itself against terror attacks by launching air strikes on targets in heavily populated Palestinian areas with warnings to those citizens.”

Unlike Gallup’s findings, the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll suggested that 60% of respondents think that a two-state solution is “the long-term answer to the Israel-Palestinian dispute.” The latter poll offered respondents a choice of two other answers, that Israel should “be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians” (while 19% said) and that “Arab states to absorb the Palestinians,” which 21% said.

The US ambassador said that because the American people stand “equally strong” on Israeli self-defense, rights for Palestinians in Gaza and a two-state solution, “That’s why President Biden is calling for an immediate ceasefire, so that desperately needed humanitarian assistance can be delivered and hostages released.”

“That’s why the United States remains the largest single provider of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, and why US ships are already on their way to construct a temporary pier to massively increase assistance shipments,” she stated. “That is why President Biden remains committed to a diplomatic path to a just and lasting peace, to a two-state solution over time, to security and stability for all in the region. We are grateful to Germany for standing with us on all of these policies.”

“Whether in Gaza, Ukraine or any zone of conflict, families are all the same. They are just like your families and mine. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They want to earn a decent living, send their children to school, live a normal life without fear of destitution or discrimination let alone death,” she added. “That’s what my father wanted when, as a Jewish refugee, he fled Nazi Germany. The youngest in his family, he was able to save his parents and his siblings from the terror of the Holocaust.”