Framing and fighting: The impact of conflict frames on political attitudes

Daphna Canetti, Ibrahim Khatib, Aviad Rubin, Carly Wayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How does the subjective conceptual framing of conflict impact the warring parties’ attitudes towards political compromise and negotiation? To assess strategies for conflict resolution, researchers frequently try to determine the defining dispute of a given conflict. However, involved parties often view the conflict through fundamentally distinct lenses. Currently, researchers do not possess a clear theoretical or methodological way to conceptualize the complexity of such competing frames and their effects on conflict resolution. This article addresses this gap. Using the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a case study, we run a series of focus groups and three surveys among Jewish citizens of Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCIs), and Palestinians in the West Bank. Results reveal that three conflict frames are prominent – material, nationalist, and religious. However, the parties to the conflict differ in their dominant interpretation of the conflict. Jewish Israelis mostly frame the conflict as nationalist, whereas Palestinians, in both the West Bank and Israel, frame it as religious. Moreover, these frames impact conflict attitudes: a religious frame was associated with significantly less willingness to compromise in potential diplomatic negotiations among both Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Interestingly, differing frames had no significant impact on the political attitudes of West Bank Palestinians, suggesting that the daily realities of conflict there may be creating more static, militant attitudes among that population. These results challenge the efficacy of material solutions to the conflict and demonstrate the micro-foundations underpinning civilians’ conflict attitudes and their implications for successful conflict resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-752
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • conflict
  • conflict resolution
  • framing
  • Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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