Domestic politics in Israeli peace-making, 1988-1994
This thesis provides an explanation of why Israel in the years between 1988 and 1994
decided on what might be termed a path to peace with both the Palestinians and the
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It argues that, in Israel, peacemaking that entails any
form of territorial concession is largely an issue that can be best understood in terms of
domestic politics. Accordingly, at the heart of this thesis lies the assumption that the key
to explaining Israel's road to peace lies in an appreciation of the dynamics of Israel's
Part at least of this story is an understanding of certain key moments in the formation of
Israeli thinking about movement towards a peace with the Palestinians. The thesis
therefore examines the impact of the Intifada on Israeli thinking as well as detailing
crucial turning points in domestic politics, not least Labour's electoral victory in 1992 and
the subsequent formation of the most dovish government in Israel's history. The thesis
also pays attention to the politics of personality and the role of key figures, such as
Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, in the politics that permitted Israel's move to peace.
To facilitate such an understanding, the study employs some analytical concepts from
what might be described as the 'middle-range' theories, for example the so-called
Bureaucratic Politics Model but its judgements are also fundamentally informed by both
interview and primary source material.
Hence, overall the thesis looks at the internal dynamics of Israeli peacemaking and
demonstrates that, although external factors are certainly, as the last chapter argues an
important part of the story, the decision to make peace was also rooted in the dynamic
complex domestic politics of Israel.