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What Causes Changes in Opinion about the Israeli: Palestinian Peace Process?

David Fielding and Madeline Penny
Journal of Peace Research
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Jan., 2009), pp. 99-118
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27640801
Page Count: 20
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What Causes Changes in Opinion about the Israeli: Palestinian Peace Process?
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Abstract

In this article, the authors present a statistical analysis of the factors that have driven monthly variations in the aggregate level of support among Israeli Jews for the Oslo Peace Accords since the onset of the intifada. Using data from monthly opinion polls, they find that there is a stable relationship between the fraction of respondents supporting the peace process and variables capturing the current level of conflict intensity. Different dimensions of the conflict have very different effects on Jewish-Israeli public opinion, with substantial heterogeneity in the response of attitudes to conflict events on either side of the Green Line. Although variations in the number of Jewish-Israeli casualties have a large impact on opinion, some Palestinian casualties also matter, suggesting that there is a 'sympathy' effect. For a given level of conflict intensity, variations in perceived economic cost of the intifada also appear to have an impact on opinion. The results indicate that the Almond-Lippmann Consensus does not apply to modern Israel. The median respondent does not have entrenched and immovable views about the desirability of a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, and median opinion does not fluctuate in a purely random way. On average, opinion will respond in predictable ways to changes in the political and economic environment.

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