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Gallup Vault: When Skepticism About Mideast Peace Proved Wrong
Gallup Vault

Gallup Vault: When Skepticism About Mideast Peace Proved Wrong

It has been nearly four decades since Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace treaty on March 26, 1979, and relations between these Mideast neighbors have since remained peaceful. At the time, however, Americans were skeptical of the treaty's long-term prospects. Just 28% of those familiar with the newly signed treaty in March 1979 predicted it would bring about lasting peace. Fifty-eight percent -- up from 42% six months earlier -- thought it would not, and the rest were unsure.

Americans' Outlook for Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, March 1979
In the long run do you feel this treaty will establish a lasting peace between Egypt and Israel? Based on U.S. adults who had heard or read about the treaty (92%)
  Sep 19, 1978^% Jan 5-8, 1979^% Mar 23-31, 1979%
Yes, will 31 26 28
No, will not 42 59 58
No opinion 27 15 14
^ Wording: Do you think the Camp David agreements will or will not lead to a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt?

The Camp David Accords were signed at the White House on Sept. 17, 1978, after 12 days of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, with U.S. President Jimmy Carter playing a major role. It then took six months of intense U.S.-led negotiations on the details before the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty was formally signed. During this time, Americans were not only skeptical that peace would last between the two countries, no doubt stemming from the history of four major wars between them since Israel's founding in 1948; they also questioned the participants' effort. Just 22% in January 1979 said Israel was "doing all it should" to bring about peace in the Middle East, and 30% said the same of Egypt.

Meanwhile, Americans generally hailed Carter for his neutrality in the process. In a January 1979 Gallup poll, only 11% of Americans said Carter was leaning too much in favor of Israel and 10% too much in favor of Egypt. Sixty-two percent said he was treating both sides fairly.

These data can be found in Gallup Analytics.

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