Hoping for Peace during Protracted Conflict: Citizens’ Hope Is Based on Inaccurate Appraisals of Their Adversary’s Hope for Peace

Oded Adomi Leshem*, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Hope is an essential component in the pursuit of political change. In order to hope, citizens need to wish for the change and have some expectations that it could materialize. This article explores how the two components of hope (i.e., wishes and expectations) are constructed in the seemingly hopeless case of a protracted and violent conflict. Utilizing a large-scale survey administered in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, we show that citizens’ appraisals of their adversary’s wishes and expectations for peace affect their own wishes and expectations, which, in turn, influences their willingness to support peacebuilding efforts. Regrettably, citizens’ tendency to underestimate their rival’s wish for peace lessens their own hopes, which further abates the support for peacebuilding. The study is the first to illustrate a mechanism by which hope for peace is constructed and the pathways by which hope facilitates resolution. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1390-1417
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks goes to the 122 supporters of the crowdfunding campaign that made this project possible. Special thanks go to David and Audrey Sikorsky, Dan and Carole Meyer, Miriam Harel, Erez Kaminski, Bryant Lyttle, Shay Zahari, Shari Leavitt, Sandra Tombe, Tomer and Liat Cooks, Jamie Drew, Rachel Harad, Susan Kahn, Mark Jacobsen, Zohar Neumann, Alexandra Schaerrer, Iry Ricci, Kathleen Nash, Lisa M. Bernstein, Mohammad Asideh, Gadi Kenny, Mehra Rimer, Lovetta Phillips, Benjamin Leshem, and Michael Kurtz for their generous contributions. We also wish to acknowledge Eric Shuman, Thomas Flores, and Deborah Kermer for their valuable feedback. Exceptional appreciation goes to Obada Shtaya for coordinating the project in the Palestinian territories. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Funding The author(s) disclosed the receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: H2020 European Research Council (grant ID 335607). ORCID iD Oded Adomi Leshem https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8853-7819 Supplemental Material The Supplemental material for this article is available online.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • hope
  • protracted conflict


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