The latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows most Americans are pessimistic about peace in the Middle East, but a majority favors a U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Less than 20 percent of Americans think peace will ever come to the Middle East (76 percent say no). Even so, it appears the public favors President Bush's recent decision to send U.S. envoy General Anthony Zinni to Jerusalem to meet with both sides and restart talks. By more than two-to-one Americans favor the United States becoming more involved in the peace talks (63 percent favor, 26 percent oppose).

Fewer Americans favor sending military troops to the region to help keep the peace (44 percent favor and 47 percent oppose). U.S. troops are currently in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Yemen, and some Americans are concerned that the military's resources are being spread too thin (31 percent).

It's unclear to Americans which side should make a major compromise. A plurality (31 percent) says both sides need to compromise, 26 percent think the Palestinians should compromise and 19 percent the Israelis, while about one-quarter of Americans have no opinion on the issue.

"In the past Americans have been steadfast in their support of Israel," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman, "and there is no evidence they are leaving that position, but they are becoming pessimistic and frustrated."

Polling was conducted by telephone March 12-13, 2002 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.

1. Do you think there will ever be peace in the Middle East?

  Yes No (Not sure)
12-13 Mar 02 17% 76 7
17-18 Sep 97 22% 72 6

2. Which side do you think should make a major compromise in the Middle East conflict — the Israelis or the Palestinians?

1. Israelis 19%
2. Palestinians 26
3. (Neither/both equal) 31
4. (Not sure) 24

3. Do you favor or oppose the United States taking a more active role in the Middle East peace negotiations?

1. Favor 63%
2. Oppose 26
3. (Not sure) 11

4. Do you favor or oppose the United States sending military troops to the Middle East to help keep the peace?

1. Favor 44%
2. Oppose 47
3. (Not sure) 9