Business Communities and Peace: The Cost-Benefit Calculations of Political Involvement.

Nissim Cohen, Guy Ben-Porat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work explains the relative lack of involvement of Jordanian and Palestinian business communities in the Middle East peace processes. Based on interviews held with businesspeople, analysis of policy documents and secondary materials and textual sources, several explanations for this political inactivity are examined. First, the limited interest of the business community in the peace process underscores its limited commitment to peace. Second, the business community's inability to organize prevents effective collective action. Third, the business community is not significant enough to influence the political process. And, fourth, the estimated risks and costs of political involvement overshadow the potential benefits of peace. We find that while the business community has an interest in peace, it remains largely passive because fears of Israel's economic domination limit the perceived gains, and, more importantly, the perceived risks and costs of political involvement are high. Consequently, while some businesspeople cooperate with Israelis, this cooperation is generally kept quiet and does not translate into visible political support for the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-446
Number of pages21
JournalPeace & Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • ARAB-Israeli peace process
  • INTERNATIONAL arbitration
  • BUSINESS enterprises
  • PALESTINIAN business enterprises
  • POLITICAL participation
  • ECONOMIC history


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