Long-Term Change in Conflict Attitudes: A Dynamic Perspective

Alon Yakter*, Liran Harsgor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

A large literature examines how citizens in violent conflicts react to the conflict's events, particularly violent escalations. Nevertheless, the temporal nature of these attitudinal changes remains under-studied. We suggest that popular reactions to greater violence are typically immediate but brief, indicating short-term emotional responses to physical threats. Over the longer term, however, public opinion is more commonly shaped by non-violent events signaling the adversary's perceived intentions, reflecting slower but deeper belief-updating processes. We support this argument using dynamic analyses of comprehensive monthly data from Israel spanning two full decades (2001-20). Rather than violence levels, we find that long-term changes in Jewish attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict follow non-violent events implying Palestinian preferences, particularly failed negotiations and out-group leadership changes. Our findings underscore the importance of public opinion's temporal dynamics and show that non-violent events, which are often overlooked in the literature, play a prominent role in shaping long-term attitudes in conflictual contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-478
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume53
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation2976/21

    Keywords

    • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    • conflict
    • conflict resolution
    • political behavior
    • public opinion
    • time-series analysis
    • violence

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