Long-Term Change in Conflict Attitudes: A Dynamic Perspective

Alon Yakter, Liran Harsgor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large literature examines how citizens in violent conflicts react to the conflict's events, particularly violent escalations. Nevertheless, the temporal nature of these attitudinal changes remains under-studied. We suggest that popular reactions to greater violence are typically immediate but brief, indicating short-term emotional responses to physical threats. Over the longer term, however, public opinion is more commonly shaped by non-violent events signaling the adversary's perceived intentions, reflecting slower but deeper belief-updating processes. We support this argument using dynamic analyses of comprehensive monthly data from Israel spanning two full decades (2001-20). Rather than violence levels, we find that long-term changes in Jewish attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict follow non-violent events implying Palestinian preferences, particularly failed negotiations and out-group leadership changes. Our findings underscore the importance of public opinion's temporal dynamics and show that non-violent events, which are often overlooked in the literature, play a prominent role in shaping long-term attitudes in conflictual contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-478
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • conflict
  • conflict resolution
  • political behavior
  • public opinion
  • time-series analysis
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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