Moral judgments of the Israeli West Bank barrier by secular Israelis

Izhak Schnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper is founded on the argument of moral geography on the one hand and Kolberg’s social-psychological theory of moral judgment in order to expose the ways Israelis morally judge the barrier with the Palestinian authority. I conclude that half of the secular Israelis who prove to make moral judgments based on universal criteria withdraw to more authoritative modes of moral judgment concerning the barrier. Legitimization of the barrier is based on dehumanization of the Palestinians. This trend is especially strong among rightists in the Israeli political spectrum who are more likely to withdraw to authoritative forms of moral judgment than leftists. Both rightists and leftists in Israel judge the moral dilemma based on values of human rights and safety. Rightists tend to emphasize the violent behavior of the Palestinians as a justification to the barrier. The worldview that allows for the withdrawal to authoritative moral judgments that justify the barrier tend to victimize the Israelis and dehumanize the Palestinians. Such a world view serves as a mean to maintain positive self image while managing a contractible conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-633
Number of pages15
JournalGeo Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014


  • Barrier
  • Moral judgment
  • Palestinian occupied territories


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