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59% Europeans Say Israel Biggest Threat To Peace

59% Europeans Say Israel Biggest Threat To World Peace

BRUSSELS, November 4, 2003 (IPC + Agencies)- After several parts were leaked from it, official public opinion survey results conducted by the European Commission indicated that 59 percent of the Europeans view Israel as the biggest threat to world peace.

The survey, organized and managed by Directorate-General “Press and Communication”, included a sample of 7,500 individuals; 500 from each EU member country, where they were presented with a list of 15 countries and were asked to choose which country represented the largest threat to world peace.

The results were faced, as usual, with fierce Israeli criticism, which considered the survey as "anti-Semitic" and "represents anti-Jewish bias". The Israeli government, along with several Jewish organizations has demanded that the results would be withdrawn.

A Spanish newspaper, El Pais, leaked partial results of the poll, stirred world response towards the survey, ranging between approving and criticizing. Israel came first in a list of countries including North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

Although Europe has consistently been critical of the Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories, the poll represented a severe souring attitude towards it.

The survey, known as the "Eurobarometer", has been a service conducted by the European Union since 1973, to monitor the evolution of the public opinion in its member states, thus helping the preparation of texts, decision-making and the evaluation of its work.

Other than the question about which countries EU citizens evaluate as the largest threat to world peace, a majority of them (81 percent) felt that the EU should play an important role in the Middle East conflict.

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