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Keywords:

  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
  • polling;
  • Jewish-Israeli attitudes;
  • compromise;
  • survey;
  • ethnonational conflicts;
  • public opinion;
  • emotion;
  • affect;
  • zero-sum perception;
  • threat perception

A representative national sampling of Israeli Jewish adults (n = 550) reported attitudes toward solutions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that were salient in Israeli public discourse in 2002. Negative attitudes toward compromise were associated with zero-sum threat perceptions of the conflict with Palestinians, such that improvement for the Palestinian side can only come at the expense of the Israeli side. Positive attitudes toward compromise were associated with feelings of sympathy toward Palestinians, but, surprisingly, attitudes toward compromise were not associated with feelings of fear toward Palestinians. The possibility is advanced that it is fear of harm to the group, not fear of harm to self and family, that is related to willingness to compromise. Zero-sum perceptions of collective threat were not strongly related to affective reactions, and, contrary to a realist analysis of intergroup conflict, sympathy for Palestinians predicted support for compromise beyond what zero-sum perceptions of threat could predict.