Israeli army vehicles move along a road in Gaza Strip
Israeli army vehicles move along a road in the Gaza Strip near a position along the border with southern Israel AFP

Almost half of Latinos believe that Israel is committing a genocide against Palestinian civilians, the highest proportion among the U.S.'s largest demographics, according to a new poll by The Economist/YouGov.

Concretely, 46% of Latino respondents said this was the case, compared to 40% of Blacks and 30% of Whites. In contrast, 30% of Latinos said Israel's actions do not amount to genocide, a stance shared by 18% of Blacks and 41% of Whites. The remaining percentages said they weren't sure.

The results were published a day before the International Court of Justice issued its first ruling in a case where South Africa effectively accused Israel of genocide. Concretely, the ruling stopped short of ordering Israel halt its operation in Gaza, but did compel the country to implement provisional measures to reduce the damage to Palestinians in the enclave. It didn't rule whether Israel is committing genocide but decided not to throw out the case.

The survey asked several related questions such as whether people believed the Israeli government's response is being too harsh, if they favor more aid to Palestinians and Israel and overall sympathies with both sides.

Regarding the latter question, Latinos were more or less evenly distributed in their responses, with 30% saying they sympathize more with the Israelis, 21% with the Palestinians and 35% "about equal." The remaining 14% said they weren't sure.

Overall, Whites tended to side more with Israel, Latinos were mixed and a large percentage of Blacks said they weren't sure of their answers.

As it has been increasingly clear since the beginning of the war, following Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, age is a determinant factor in people's stances on the conflict. Overall, 49% of all people aged 18-29 said Israel is committing genocide, with the figure decreasing as people get older. For comparison, 21% of all people aged 65 or older said this was the case.

The divide is also clear along party lines. A majority of Republicans' responses sided with Israel and the need to protect the country, while Democrats showed contrasting views, something that has also been seen among its elected officials.

For example, when asked about the importance of protecting Israel, 58% of Republicans said it was "Very important," compared to 27% of Democrats. 32% of Democrats did say this is somewhat important, while 22% said it was either not too important or not at all important, compared to 14% of Republicans.

Asked about what the goal of Israel's ground invasion should be, Latinos didn't give an overwhelming answer: 20% called for an immediate ceasefire, 13% for targeted raids to recover the hostages, another 13% to defeat Hamas and then pull out of Gaza, 15% to defeat Hamas and give control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority or some other group and 14% to defeat Hamas and occupy Gaza.

Israel vowed to crush Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks, where about 1,140 people were killed and 250 taken hostage, and launched a military offensive that the Palestinian territory's health ministry says has killed at least 25,900 people, about 70 percent of them women and children.

As heavy fighting continues in Khan Younis, many thousands more have fled the city to seek refuge in Rafah, further south on the Egyptian border, where most of the 1.7 million Palestinians displaced by the war have gathered.

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