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Half of Russians blame Israel, U.S. for Mideast conflict - survey

14:24 01/08/2006
MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - Almost half of Russians questioned in a nationwide survey blame Israel and the United States for the ongoing violence in the Middle East, a pollster said Tuesday.

The conflict between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, raging for almost three weeks, has left more than 700 Lebanese civilians dead, and taken the lives of over 50 Israelis. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes and military incursions in the Gaza Strip over the past month.

The All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Study said that 23% of respondents blamed Israel for the beginning of the violence, while other 21% blamed the United States and Israel's other allies.

The poll showed that 14% and 13% blamed Islamic militant groups Hizbollah and Hamas respectively for the conflict, 5% blamed "Iran, Syria and other sponsors of terrorist organizations in the Middle East," and 4% said the government of Lebanon was responsible for the conflict.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said both sides in the conflict were equally responsible for the current situation.

The pollster also said 43% of respondents believed Russia should not interfere in the Middle East conflict, and the majority, 70%, said Russian peacekeepers should not enter the conflict zone.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said Russia should continue acting as an independent mediator in the conflict, while 11% said Russia should support one of the conflicting sides.

The poll was carried out on July 22-23 in 153 cities and towns in 46 regions across Russia. Pollsters questioned 1,600 respondents, and the survey has an error margin of 3.4%.

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RIA Novosti Half of Russians blame Israel, U.S. for Mideast conflict - survey

14:24 01/08/2006 Almost half of Russians questioned in a nationwide survey blame Israel and the United States for the ongoing violence in the Middle East, a pollster said Tuesday. >>

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