Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion

Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion

The Public Imperative in the Second Intifada
Jacob Shamir and Khalil Shikaki
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/15/2010
Format: Paperback 26 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22172-8
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Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion is based on a unique project: the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll (JIPP). Since 2000, Jacob Shamir and Khalil Shikaki have directed joint surveys among Israelis and Palestinians, providing a rare opportunity to examine public opinion on two sides of an intractable conflict. Adopting a two-level game theory approach, Shamir and Shikaki argue that public opinion is a multifaceted phenomenon and a critical player in international politics. They examine how the Israeli and Palestinian publics' assessments, expectations, mutual perceptions and misperceptions, and overt political action fed into domestic policy formation and international negotiations—from the failure of the 2000 Camp David summit through the second Intifada and the elections of 2006. A discussion of the study's implications for policymaking and strategic framing of future peace agreements concludes this timely and informative book.

Author Bio

Jacob Shamir is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism and Senior Research Fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is author of The Anatomy of Public Opinion(with Michal Shamir) and of numerous articles and reports on public opinion in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Khalil Shikaki has taught political science at several universities, and is currently the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah and a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University.


“Based on the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll, this timely book provides a rare opportunity to examine public opinion on two sides of an intractable conflict. Arguing that public opinion is a critical player in international politics, the authors examine how the publics' expectations, mutual perceptions, and political action feed into policy formation and negotiations.”

“Shamir and Shikaki offer a convincing and rigorous development of Putnam’s two-level game theory of international negotiations. Rather than examine interactions within the single dyad of national government and domestic public on only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, they explore the two dyads, both in parallel and in interplay. The result is a thoughtful and genuinely insightful alternative to principally top-down narratives of the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David and of the continued stymieing of the peace process since the death of Yaser Arafat, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, and the transformation of Palestinian and Israeli electoral politics since 2006.”
 — Yezid Sayigh, King's College London

“Instantly the best book we have on Israeli and Palestinian public attitudes toward the conflict that divides them, especially in the period following the collapse of the negotiations in 2000. Theoretically insightful and based on rich empirical findings, this book should be read by everyone interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
 — Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland and Senior Fellow, Brookings

“Extremely timely . . . its execution balanced and professional. . . . A pioneering effort.”
 — Asher Arian, City University of New York

“An important study and an impressive achievement. Shamir and Shikaki offer readers not only a rare and welcome example of sustained Israeli-Palestinian scientific collaboration but also, and perhaps even more important, a work of engaged scholarship that is creative, original and rigorous. Their research yields many valuable insights, both about the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about the factors shaping public opinion in conflict situations more generally.”
 — Mark Tessler, author of A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

“Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion will be influential for years to come; students, policymakers, and those who monitor the Palestinian–Israeli conflict are encouraged to read it.”
 — Int Journal of Middle East Studies

“This work is a must-read for scholars of Israeli-Palestinian relations and the peace process. The book’s concluding policy recommendations on how to strengthen ‘moderates’, prepare publics for concessions, and maintain each player’s unity are also a valuable resource for policymakers. With important empirical, theoretical, and policy contributions, Shamir and Shikaki’s collaboration should appeal to a variety of audiences. At a time when the conflict seems more and more intractable, their findings may produce a ray of optimism.”
 — Israel Studies Review

“This work is a must-read for scholars of Israeli-Palestinian relations and the peace process. . . . With important empirical, theoretical, and policy contributions, Shamir and Shikaki's collaboration should apeal to a variety of audiences. ”
 — Jewish Studies Review

“This is an important informative and analytical study examining opinions, dilemmas, and activities of both sides. It provides clear analysis of past events and clues for understanding future developments.”
 — Jewish Book World

“Palestinian and Israeli Public Opinion . . . makes a significant contribution to understanding, rather than exploiting, public opinion in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Its readability and depth make it appropriate for experts or regular folks, in negotiations or in conversations. With deadpan objectivity, both sides should find it credible; yet the authors avoid both strained symmetry and apologetics, squarely confronting even the toughest findings. October 25, 2010”
 — The Jerusalem Report

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll: Context and Methodology
3. The Public Imperative: Public Opinion in Two-Level Games
4. The Israeli and Palestinian Publics: Differences and Similarities
5. Camp David 2000: Tied Hands and Closed Lips
6. The Eruption of the Intifada: The Role of Violence in Two-Level Games
7. From Geneva to Disengagement: Opportunities and Constraints
8. Political Turnabouts: The Electoral Connection
9. Conclusion

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