Developments of recent weeks have done little to change basic attitudes toward the Middle East controversy. Forty-six per cent of those who have heard or read about the controversy say their sympathies are with Israel, 11 per cent with the Arab nations, 21 per cent say they are sympathetic to neither side, while 22 per cent are undecided.
In a June survey, 44 per cent said their sympathies were with Israel, 8 per cent with the Arabs, 23 per cent said neither, and 20 per cent said they were undecided.
While American sympathies continue to be strongly on the side of Israel, some decline has been registered since the first measurement was taken, immediately after the 1967 war. At that time, 55 per cent of those questioned said their sympathies were with Israel, 4 per cent with the Arabs, and 41 per cent sided with neither or had no opinion.
On the question of disposition of Arab territory occupied by Israel after the 1967 war, almost no change in American attitudes was found in the present survey.
About one person in eight (13 per cent) says Israel should withdraw from all the land taken from the Arab nations during the 1967 war as opposed to 26 per cent who say that Israel should keep the land. A plurality - 36 per cent - believe Israel should return part of the land; 25 per cent are undecided.
These findings not only closely parallel those recorded in June, but are similar to those recorded 10 years ago. In a survey conducted shortly after the Six-Day war in 1967, 15 per cent of those who had followed the Middle East conflict said Israel should return all the land and 24 per cent felt the Israelis should retain all the land; 44 per cent said Israel should keep some of the land, while the remainder had no opinion.
On the question of whether a separate, independent Palestinian nation should be established, more favor than oppose (36 per cent to 29 per cent) this idea but a substantial number - 35 per cent - say they have no opinion or do not make a choice.
The findings reported today are based on personal interviews with 1,520 adults in a survey conducted in more than 300 scientifically selected localities during the period Oct. 14-17.