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Coalitions and Conflict: the case of the palestinian-israeli negotiations over the West Bank

Journal article
Authors Ellen Lust
A.F.K. Organski
Published in Conflict Management and Peace Science
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 23-58
ISSN 0738-8942
Publication year 2002
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 23-58
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


This paper examines the relative influence of leaders and coalitions in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the West Bank. It uses an Expected Utiliiy model in conjunction with empirical analysis of the negotiations from 1993 to 2000 to consider how the leadership and coalition changes affected the potemial settlements under Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu. and Barak. It draws two important conclusions: First, negotiations are better understood as the outcome of the domestic struggles between moderates and radicals on each side than as the simple interplay between leaders and their coalitions on both sides. In the case at hand, the domestic struggle between moderate and radical Israelis over their negotiating position and the similar struggle between moderate and radical Palestinians has affected the course of negotiations more than the personal preferences and coalitions of each subsequent Israeli administration. Thus, although Barak and Rabin had very similar preferences and coalitions, the course of negotiations under these administrations differed dramatically. Second, the analysis suggests that right wing governments may make significant progress in negotiations, particularly when their negotiating partner is committed to the pracess. Ironically, had he remained in power. Netanyalru would likely have come to a settlement, gaining more Palestinian concessions than his Labor counierparts. Empirical evidence from the course of negotiations supports the model’s findings.

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