Most Americans now disapprove of Israel’s war in Gaza, poll finds

Most Americans now disapprove of Israel’s war in Gaza, a new poll has found.

Some 55 per cent disapprove of Israel’s ongoing offensive in the besieged territory, while 36 per cent approve, according to the Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

It is the first time a poll has found that a majority of Americans do not support the war, a significant shift from when the same survey in November found most were in favour.

The survey comes nearly six months into Israel’s war, which has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and brought Gaza to the brink of famine.

Israel has been accused by aid groups, and the British government, of deliberately blocking aid into Gaza by closing all but one crossing.

The lack of food entering the besieged strip has brought more than one million people close to catastrophic hunger levels, according to the World Health Organization.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it a “moral outrage” that Israel was blocking aid during a visit to the border last week.

Israel’s offensive was launched in response to a Hamas attack in southern Israel that killed 1,200 people. More than 200 people were kidnapped and taken back into Gaza.

The Gallup survey, which was conducted from March 1 to 20, found a drop in support for the war among all three major party groups. The biggest decline was found among Democrats and independents, which both saw an 18 per cent drop. There was also a seven-point decline among Republicans.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating for his handling of the situation in the Middle East sank to its lowest ever, at 27 per cent.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the civilian death toll in Gaza is “far too high” ahead of a meeting with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Pentagon just prior to a sit-down with Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant, Mr Austin also made an urgent call for Israel to increase the amount of aid it is allowing into Gaza to prevent a famine.

“In Gaza today, the number of civilian casualties is far too high and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low,” he said. He added that Gaza is currently “suffering a humanitarian catastrophe” and called for "immediate increases in assistance to avert famine.”

The comments represent a rare public rebuke by the US of its close ally Israel.

The meeting came one day after the US withheld its veto at the United Nations Security Council for the first time since the war began and allowed the body to pass a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the war — something the Biden administration had blocked three times before in support of Israel’s desire to continue its offensive into southern Gaza.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the planned visit of a high-level delegation to Washington DC in protest, and accused the US of “retreating” from what he said had been a “principled position”.