Forecasting Israeli-Palestinian relations

Donald A. Sylvan, Jonathan W. Keller, Yoram Z. Haftel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article addresses the issue of how international relations theories and experts do at forecasting Israeli-Palestinian relations. A group of academics who study the Middle East were brought together to set forth their logic and arguments concerning possible future scenarios of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The article reports on a 'rule-based' computational model built upon the reasoning of these experts. Sensitivity analysis of the model is summarized, and four empirical tests of the model are reported. Relations between Middle East states, externally generated existential threats to Israel, and domestic structural factors such as coalition politics in Israel emerge as driving forces in the sensitivity analysis. Further examination shows that the model is in theoretical harmony with scholars who have employed two-level games and has some similarity to realist explanations and frameworks emphasizing public opinion. Model tests reveal relatively solid results: comparisons with other forecasts generally favor this model, while both the cases of the Labor Party coming to power in Israel and a change in Jordanian behavior after the death of King Hussein lend further support to the model presented here. Finally, when the scholars who served as the expert group to produce these forecasts were asked to reflect back on the process, they exhibited the same rationalizations that have been found in other expert-based forecasts, even though the results of the forecasts were more favorable than many such forecasts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


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