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Poll Indicates Europeans See Israel as Greater Threat Than N. Korea, Iran

A poll to be released Monday reportedly indicates more than half of Europeans believe Israel poses a greater threat to world peace than Iran and North Korea. The findings were published early by several European newspapers.

Nearly 60 percent of Europeans surveyed ranked Israel as the country posing the biggest threat to world peace today. According to France's Le Monde newspaper, the United States ranks sixth on the list, after North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The early October poll of more than 7,500 people across the European Union is to be formally released by the European Commission on Monday. A spokesman for the commission, reached in Brussels Saturday, said the survey looks at how Europeans feel about a number of issues, not just about world peace.

The findings underscore continued trans-Atlantic divisions on a number of issues, most recently the U.S.-led war on Iraq. Many Europeans adamantly opposed the war, even those living in countries such as Spain, where the government sided with Washington.

The new survey, called the Eurobarometer, found that two thirds of Europeans are still against the war.

In other reported findings, nearly 58 percent said the United Nations, rather than the United States, should oversee the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

More than half of the Europeans surveyed said they opposed sending European peacekeepers to Iraq. And nearly two thirds said they believed Washington should pick up the bill for post-war reconstruction of that country, according to the reports.

At the same time, however, more than 80 percent said they believe European nations should increase humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Results of this latest, wide-ranging European survey were released in part in late October, following an Iraq donors' conference in Madrid. But the results released then did not include the question about which countries were seen as a threat.

European officials told the Le Monde newspaper that the delay in including these new findings was due to technical reasons, not to political ones.