The Determinants of Palestinians' Attitudes Toward Peace with Israel

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Abstract

This study explains the variations in the Palestinians' support of the peace process with Israel. It uses multivariate Logit analysis, employing a large public opinion poll conducted in January 2000. It tests seven hypotheses, drawn from various perspectives, on the conditions of Palestinian support of or opposition to the peace process.

The study supports several of our hypotheses including the positive association between the Palestinians' perceptions of democracy and the support of peace and Palestinian women's support of the peace process. These results are important because they reconfirm the findings of the vast international relations literature, which established a strong linkage between democracy and peace and that women are more peace-oriented than men.

The study further suggests that the Palestinians associate their support of the peace process positively with their trust of domestic political institutions, a sound nation-building process, and governmental public accountability, and negatively with the perception of governmental corruption. It also reveals that the Palestinians' positive evaluation of their domestic institutions and Israel's commitment to a just and fair settlement to the conflict are more important determinants of the support of the peace process than efforts to improve their economic conditions and that the economic conditions have, at best, a small impact upon the support of or the opposition to peace. Lastly, the study points to the presence of a positive relationship between support of the peace process and each of political institutionalization, party identification, and the second level of leaders. This finding points to an emerging trend among Palestinians toward political maturation and stabilization of their domestic politics.

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