Protected by Ethos in a Protracted Conflict? A Comparative Study among Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem
Can endorsement of the ethos of conflict alter psychological effects of exposure to political violence? Israelis and Palestinians have been in a state of political and military turmoil for decades. We interviewed 781 Israelis and 1,196 Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Using structural equation modeling, we found that among those with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher levels of hatred. For Israelis with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher psychological distress and fear. For Palestinians with weaker adherence to ethos of conflict, stronger exposure predicted stronger threat perceptions. Israelis and Palestinians with a strong adherence to the ethos showed steady and high levels of negative emotions and threat, regardless of exposure. These results indicate that ethos of conflict is a double-edged sword that both protects and protracts the conflict. Although it serves as an engine fueling the conflict, it also plays a meaningful role as an empowering force for people suffering the psychological burden of an ongoing conflict.
Found in Journal of Conflict Resolution,
"ethos of conflict"...provides a clear picture of the conflict, its goals, its conditions, requirements, and images of one's own group and of the rival. The narrative of the ethos of conflict is supported by society's collective memory. Both narratives share similar themes...These themes include: Goals: Societal beliefs about the justness of one's own goals...Security: Societal beliefs about security stress the importance of personal safety and national survival...Delegitimization: Societal beliefs of delegitimizing the opponent concern beliefs which deny the adversary's humanity...Self-image: Societal beliefs of positive collective self image concern the ethnocentric tendency to attribute positive traits, values and behavior to one's own society...these beliefs supply moral strength and a sense of own superiority. Victimization: Societal beliefs of one's own victimization concern self-presentation as a victim, especially in the context of the intractable conflict...Patriotism: Societal beliefs of patriotism generate attachment to the country and society, by propagating loyalty, love, care and sacrifice...Unity: Societal beliefs of unity refer to the importance of ignoring internal conflicts and disagreements during intractable conflict in order to unite the forces in the face of the external threat...Peace...
If I understood this correctly, if left-wingers, the New Israel Fund and European Union money can undermine the confidence of Israelis in the justness of their cause, the Arabs win.