Conflict perception: a new scale with evidence from Israel and Palestine

Ibrahim Khatib, Daphna Canetti, Aviad Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The current work aims to introduce the concept of conflict perception and construct a scale that measures individual differences in perceptions about conflicts along religious, national and material dimensions. The concept and the measure are developed in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Design/methodology/approach: The research design combines three methodological elements: 14 focus groups in Israel and the West Bank, which represent diversity in place of residence, religion, age and political background; an expert panel review; and a survey of 411 student respondents that was conducted between September 29 and October 9, 2013, among university students in Israel and Palestine. Findings: The findings show that conflict perception is an individual’s subjective view regarding the essence of the conflict and its central issues, the identities of the parties involved and their motivations, which may include material, ideological or symbolic motives, or any combination thereof. A novel scale consisting of five statements that can measure conflict perception that was developed, validated and implemented via a survey sample showed that Palestinians in the West Bank and in Israel have a religious perception of the conflict, whereas Jews have a national perception of the conflict. Originality/value: First, the paper introduces a new concept that sheds additional light on the micro foundations of peoples’ attitudes in conflict situations. Second, it develops and validates a measurement tool for conflict perception that may be usable, with necessary adjustments, in other conflicts. Third, it demonstrates that parties to the conflict do not necessarily share similar perceptions about the conflict, a finding with far-reaching consequences for conflict resolution at both the scholarly and policy levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-397
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 16 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Conflict perception
  • Conflict resolution
  • Israel
  • Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • Protracted conflict
  • West Bank
  • Willingness to compromise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Conflict perception: a new scale with evidence from Israel and Palestine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this