The Telegraph have published the most detailed poll so far on attitudes towards the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah. As in ICM’s poll earlier this week, the survey suggests there is little public backing for Israel’s actions; only 17% of people think that Israel’s response to the kidnapping of her soldiers has been proportionate, with 63% saying it is a disproportionate response. Only 15% of people think that Israel is indeed doing all it can to minimise civilian casualties (59% disagree), and 49% of people think that it is fair to say that Israel is targetting the whole of Lebanon, not just Hizbollah (23% disagree).
Asked about Hizbollah and Hamas, only 9% of people think it is possible for Israel to stop their attacks using armed force and only 27% of people think that the governments of Lebanon and Palestine would have the ability to stop the attacks if they wanted to (personally I wouldn’t have conbined the questions – the situation with the Lebanese government and Hizbollah is obviously somewhat different to that in Palestine where Hamas is the elected government). Only 12% of people think that Israel’s attacks into Lebanon will weaken support for Hizbollah, with a majority (54%) thinking it will increase their support in the Arab world.
Looking towards the future people are broadly pessimistic. Very few (10%) think the present conflict will make Israel more secure, with 40% thinking it will make the situation worse. Looking 10-15 years down the line 72% of people think Israel will be under attack as at present or in an even worse situation. Only 4% think she will be at peace with secure borders…the same proportion of people who think Israel will have ceased to exist.
Closer to home, 53% of people think the Blair government’s handling of the affair has been poor or very poor, with only 6% thinking it has been good or excellent. These figures are only slightly better than opinions of how the US government has handled the affair (and we have seen in the past the low opinion that the British public hold of the US government). Only 15% of people think Tony Blair is making up his own mind and taking his own line, with 64% thinkling he is doing whatever the Americans tell him.