American public opinion is still heavily pro-Israeli in the Middle East dispute, but Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have made gains over the past few years in being viewed as nations essentially friendly to the United States.
The current Harris Survey asked a cross-section of 1,533 adults nationwide how they view the major elements involved in the Middle East today:
By 72 to 7 per cent, Israel is seen as a close ally or friendly to this country, substantially unchanged from the 74 to 12 per cent majority that felt that way in January, 1976.
A 48 to 22 per cent plurality views Egypt as a close ally or friend, a turnabout from the 44 to 35 per cent plurality that thought Egypt was unfriendly or an enemy nearly two years ago.
By 42 to 20 per cent, a plurality of Americans views Jordan as a close ally or a friend, a distinct change from the 34 to 34 percent standoff in early 1976.
By 39 to 26, a plurality of Americans views Saudi Arabia as a close ally or friend, a turnaround from the 44 to 32 per cent plurality that felt the Saudis were unfriendly or an enemy of the United States two years ago.
The dominant perception of other Arab elements in the Middle East is far more mixed: Syria is seen as essentially unfriendly or an enemy of this country by 29 to 25 per cent; a 27 to 21 per cent plurality views Libya as unfriendly to or an enemy of this country, compared with a 36 to 18 per cent plurality two years ago.
In the case of the Palestine Liberation Organization, however, American public opinion is basicaly hostile. By 53 to 9 per cent, a majority believes the PLO is either unfriendly to this country or an enemy.
In other findings - fifity five per just peace," with 20 per cent convinced that the Israelis "want peace only reluctantly." Six per cent are convinced that Israel "really does not want peace."
In the case of Egypt, 37 per cent believe that country "really wants peace," 27 per cent think it wants peace "only reluctantly," with 9 per cent believing it "really does not want peace."
Thirty-four per cent believe Jordan "really wants a just peace," while 23 per cent think the Jordanians "only reluctantly want peace." Seven per cent believe that Israel "really wants want peace."