President Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure from both sides as his administration addresses increased violence in Israel.
“A right to defend itself”
Trump was widely praised for overseeing a historic peace deal between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Pollsters found that 54% of respondents believe the region is closer to war than it was just last year, with just 14% saying tensions have diminished and 27% signaling that things have generally remained the same.
The Trump administration prioritized policies related to Israel, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel. These and other policies were slammed by critics as one-sided but lauded among pro-Israel Americans.
Just one in four voters believe Biden is improving U.S. policy with Israel — nearly half disagree.
The U.S. president was caught flat-footed last week when Hamas began raining rockets on Israel, prompting the worst outbreak of fighting between Israel and Palestine in years.
“It will take time”
After a round of initial criticism for perceived inaction, Biden declared that Israel has a “right to defend itself.” Detractors, including Trump, have portrayed the current administration as too weak, insisting that it could be emboldening the militant group Hamas.
At the same time, some progressive Democrats have blasted Biden for not condemning supposed Israel “terrorism” against Palestine. Israel has responded with force to the aggressive bombing campaign launched by Hamas, targeting infrastructure within the Gaza Strip and drawing criticism along the way.
Nevertheless, the Rasmussen survey finds that Americans are decidedly in favor of Israel. A full 83% of respondents say the U.S. ally is essential to America’s national security in the region.
Biden’s calls for peace are proving ineffectual, as both sides in the ongoing dispute continue to lob missiles across their shared border. As of Tuesday, 213 Palestinians and 10 Israelis have been confirmed as casualties of the violence.
In a call on Monday, Biden urged Israel to limit civilian casualties. For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained: “We are acting now, for as long as necessary, to restore time. … It will take time.”