Arab World Calls US Top Security Threat, No Peace With Israel

A staggering 94 percent of people living in West Asia and North Africa called Washington’s Gaza policies ‘bad.’

More than half agree the US is the top threat to peace in the region.

A new opinion poll conducted in 16 Arab countries shows that Washington’s continued support for Israel’s campaign of genocide in the Gaza Strip has dramatically hurt its image across West Asia and North Africa, as 94 percent of respondents describe the US position as “bad.” At the same time, more than half say the US poses the biggest threat to regional security.

Other western states fared almost as poorly, with more than three-quarters of those polled saying the position of the UK, France, and Germany in relation to Gaza is “bad” or “very bad.”

In contrast, Iran received a surge in recognition, with 48 percent of respondents expressing a positive view of the Iranian position, while 37 percent held a negative view. Despite Ankara’s increasing trade ties with Tel Aviv, Turkiye got a similar response – 47 percent perceived the country’s position positively, and 40 percent perceived it negatively.

To make matters worse for Washington, 51 percent of respondents agree that the US is currently the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region – marking a 12-point jump from 2022. Israel trails behind with 26 percent, a 15-point drop from 2022.

The survey, conducted by the Arab Center Washington DC (ACW) in cooperation with The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), also asked respondents their opinions on prospects for peace with Israel in the wake of the war in Gaza.

Fifty-nine percent answered with certainty that there can be no possibility for peace with Israel, while 14 percent reported having serious doubts, and nine percent said they did not believe in the possibility of peace with Israel in the first place.

Furthermore, 89 percent of Arab citizens say they oppose official recognition of Israel, with only four percent favoring it. This marks the lowest level of recognition since the question was first asked in 2011.

When asked what actions regional leaders must take to stop the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza, 36 percent said governments should suspend relations or normalization agreements with Israel, 14 percent said aid must be delivered to Gaza regardless of Israeli approval, and 11 percent said oil exports should be used to put pressure on Israel and its western backers.

A large majority of respondents also agreed that the US is not serious about working to establish an independent Palestinian state under the 1967 borders with occupied Jerusalem as its capital.

“This is a historic moment in some very important ways,” Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland, said at an event presenting the survey findings on Thursday. “The scale of what we have seen and the role the US has played in this deeply painful crisis has been so large and been perceived to be so large that it’s going to leave an imprint on the consciousness of a generation in the region that is going to outlast this administration and outlast this crisis.”

Questions about Washington’s alleged commitment to democracy and regional stability have been growing steadily in the Arab world for several years. According to a Gallup poll conducted in April 2023, a great majority of citizens in 13 countries across West Asia and North Africa said they did not trust US claims about “encouraging the development of democracy” or about “improving the economic lot of people.”

A few months earlier, the ACRPS revealed the results of the largest opinion survey conducted in the Arab world, showing that 84 percent of Arabs reject recognizing Israel for political and cultural reasons.

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