Sunday, September 18, 2011
Bad news for Israel: A global BBC poll suggests that more people support UN recognition of Palestine as an independent state than oppose it
Across the 19 countries surveyed, 49% backed the proposal while 21% said that their government should oppose it. The Palestinians say that they will ask for full membership at the United Nations but the United States says it will veto the move. The Palestinians are seeking international recognition of their state based on 1967 borders - the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel and the United States say that a Palestinian state can only be achieved through direct negotiation. The poll, jointly conducted by the BBC and GlobeScan, saw majority support in four predominantly Muslim countries, with Chinese people also strongly endorsing the proposal. Even in countries where opposition was strongest, more people polled supported the resolution than were against it. The United States and the Philippines both polled 36% against the resolution. But 45% of Americans and 56% of Filipinos backed recognition. The lowest level of support was in India, with 32% in favor and 25% opposed, with many undecided. Support was strongest in Egypt, where 90% were in favor and only 9% opposed. In other Muslim countries, Turkey recorded 60% support, 19% opposition; Pakistan 52% for, 12% against; and Indonesia 51% for, 16% against. The Chinese were among the most enthusiastic supporters, with 56% in favor and just 9% opposed. Public opinion in the three large European Union member states included in the poll was strikingly similar on the issue: France (54% support, 20% opposition), Germany (53% v 28%) and Britain (53% v 26%). Overall, 30% opted for not giving a definite answer as they thought their country should abstain, or "it depends", or they did not offer a view. But more than half of Russians and Chileans did not offer a definite opinion.