understanding public sentiment on the israeli war in gaza

In a recent development, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies unveiled the outcomes of an extensive public opinion poll on the Israeli war on Gaza conducted across 16 Arab countries. Delving into the sentiments of over 8000 respondents, this survey provides profound insights into the Arab public’s perspective on this critical geopolitical issue.

Localized Impact and Psychological Stress

The survey reflects a staggering 97% of respondents experiencing psychological stress to varying degrees due to the war on Gaza, with 84% expressing a profound sense of distress. This underscores the localized impact of the conflict on Arab citizens.

Media Consumption Patterns

Around 80% of respondents actively follow the news of the war, signifying the perceived local significance of the conflict. Television remains the primary source for 54% of respondents, while 43% rely on the internet for updates.

Perceptions of Hamas’ Military Operation

Notably, Arab public opinion doesn’t attribute Hamas’s military operation solely to a foreign agenda. 35% believe it stems from the continued Israeli occupation, 24% see it as a defense against Israel’s actions regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and 8% relate it to the Gaza Strip’s ongoing siege.

Legitimacy of Hamas’ Operation

Regarding the legitimacy of Hamas’s military operation, 67% view it as a legitimate resistance, while 19% consider it somewhat flawed but still legitimate. Only 5% deem it illegitimate, showcasing a prevailing consensus in favor of Hamas.

International Perspectives and the U.S. Stance

Arab sentiment toward international powers is notable, with a negative view of the U.S. position at 94%, especially considering 82% view it as very bad. Responses to France, the UK, and Germany also lean negative. Moreover, 76% express a worsened opinion of the United States, indicating a significant loss of trust.

Identified Threats and Media Bias

Arab public opinion identifies the United States and Israel as the biggest threats to regional security (77%). Furthermore, 82% believe that U.S. media coverage of the war exhibits bias towards Israel, emphasizing concerns about media impartiality.

The Palestinian Cause as an Arab Issue

The survey indicates a paradigm shift, with 92% believing the Palestinian cause concerns all Arabs, not just Palestinians. This unity in perception is notably higher than in previous years, reflecting a fundamental change in the Arab populace’s perspective.

Rejection of Israel’s Recognition

Arab public opinion overwhelmingly rejects recognizing Israel, with 89% opposed, an increase from 84% in 2022. This sentiment is particularly pronounced in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Sudan, underscoring a growing resistance to acknowledging Israel.

Recommendations for Arab Governments

Respondents emphasize tangible actions Arab governments should take to stop the war, with 36% advocating for the suspension of relations with Israel. Other suggestions include providing aid to Gaza without Israeli approval (14%) and using oil as a diplomatic weapon (11%).

Regional Impact on Palestinians in the West Bank

In the West Bank, 95% of Palestinian respondents express a negative impact on safety and freedom of movement since October 7, 2023. Incidences of raids, arrests, and settler harassment are reported by significant percentages, reflecting the challenging conditions faced by Palestinians.


This survey, representing a first-of-its-kind comprehensive examination of Arab public opinion on the Israeli war on Gaza, sheds light on the nuanced perspectives and sentiments prevailing across the Arab region. As the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, fostering a deeper understanding of these sentiments is crucial for informed discourse and policy considerations.