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Poll Finds Only 6 Percent of Israelis See Obama as Pro-Israel

After years of good relations between the United States and Israel, Israelis see a negative trend under the Obama administration. Many Palestinians, on the other hand, see positive change.

A new poll shows that only six percent of Israelis see U.S. President Barack Obama as pro-Israel, while 50 percent see him as pro-Palestinian. The survey, published in the Jerusalem Post, found that 36 percent see Mr. Obama as neutral.

Israeli concerns

The poll points to Israeli concerns over Mr. Obama's outreach to the Arab and Muslim world, which many here believe comes at the expense of the Jewish state. The President's repeated calls for Israel to agree to halt settlement expansion have led to a deepening rift between the United States and Israel.

"I have no doubt that Obama will persist in an attempt to appease the Muslim world on one hand and persist in applying psychological, and I emphasize psychological, not practical, pressure on Israel to yield to American pressure," said Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli diplomat who served in Washington.

Palestinian reviews positive

Muhammed Abu Saada, a Palestinian analyst in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, says the President is getting more positive reviews on his side of the border.

"If the U.S. government can put pressure on Israel to end its occupation and put freeze on its settlement activity, Barack Obama will find a listening ear particularly in the Palestinian society [and] especially from Hamas and other resistance groups," he said.

Jewish settlement activist Nadia Matar says if the Palestinians are happy then Israel is paying the price.

"Obama, you can't appease the Muslim lust for conquest by selling out the Jews and their biblical homeland," said Matar.

Mr. Obama's unpopularity in Israel is in sharp contrast to that of his predecessor President George W. Bush. The same poll last month found that 88 percent of Israelis saw the Bush administration as pro-Israel.