Arab Public Concern About the Arab-Israeli Conflict Drops From 1st to 7th
Iraq Increases Arab Dislike of U.S.
By Dr. Joseph Lerner, co-director IMRA 29 December 2005
The Arab world, at all levels, blames the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
for the region's problems and insist that if Israel would come forth with an
equitable solution the region would be on the road to solving all its
A recent poll indicates the Arab public's concern about the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict has decreased greatly and that the Iraqi issue
is by far the dominant factor in Arab unfavorable attitudes towards the
United States. The Zogby International poll "Attitudes of Arabs 2005"
sponsored by Young Arab Leaders, a Gulf states organization, and the Arab
American Institute, a leading U.S. organization, was conducted during
October 15-24, 2005 in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon,Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE). Except for the UAE, where the estimating error
was 10 percentage points, the remaining states had a 4.5 or lower estimating
error. Therefore, the separate results for the UAE will not be shown here
but are included in Zogby's aggregate for the 6 states polled.For comparison
results are given for 2002 and 2004 as shown in the 2005 Zogby report.
[ www.aaiusa.org/polls/ArabAttitudes2005.htm for the complete poll]
In the 2005 poll, respondents were asked to rank the importance of 11
issues facing them ranging from Employment Opportunity to Ending Corruption
and Nepotism. Resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict was placed in the middle
of the list for response . In the aggregate, Arab-Israel Conflict decreased
from 1st to 7th in the order of importance. In Jordan the Conflict slipped
in importance from 1st to 2nd place from. 2004 to 2005. In Lebanon it
dropped from 7th to 9th. In Saudi Arabia from 4th to 5th place. For Egypt
there were no data for 2004 and in 2005 the Conflict was 8th in importance
among the 11 issues. Clearly, apart from Jordan, concern about the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict has slipped dramatically in the Arab world.
Arab leaders and "analysts" frequently insist that the Arab-Israeli
conflict is the prime source of Arab dislike of the U.S. In the Zogby poll
this dislike of the U.S. increased between 2002 and 2005. The percentages of
attitudes unfavorable to the U.S. increased from 76% to 85% in Egypt; from
61% to 63% in Jordan; from 61% to 64% in Morocco. By contrast, in Lebanon
there was a reduction from 77% to 64%.
In 2005, respondents were asked to select the most important factor in
determining their attitude toward the U.S. There were 5 possible choices:
War in Iraq; Bush's Promotion of Democracy and Reform; the Arab-Israeli
Conflict; American Treatment of Arabs and Muslims; and Other Reasons. By
far, the most significant was the War in Iraq: Egypt 57%; Jordan 48%;
Lebanon 34%; Morocco 45%; Saudi Arabia 49%.
The second most important factor determining attitudes towards the U.S.
was American treatment of Arabs and Muslims: Egypt and Jordan 28%; Lebanon
22%; Morocco 40%;Saudi Arabia 32%.
Developments in the Arab-Israeli front as the most important factor in
determining attitudes toward the U.S. scored 8% in Egypt; 13% in Jordan; 19%
in Lebanon; 8% in Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
Since U.S. treatment of Arabs and Muslims is bound to the War in Iraq,
combining these two reasons can be regarded as the Iraqi Factor in
determining attitudes towards the U.S. The combined Factor is:Egypt 85%;
Jordan 76%; Lebanon 56%; Morocco 85%; Saudi Arabia 81%
Comparing this combined Iraqi Factor to the Arab-Israeli factor finds the
Iraqi Factor 10 times as important to the Egyptian public; Jordan almost 6
times ; Morocco over 10 times ; Saudi Arabia 10 times more important.