Crisis Magnitude and Interstate Conflict: Changes in the Arab-Israel Dispute

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Ben-Yehuda, Hemda; & Sandler, Shmuel (1998) Crisis Magnitude and Interstate Conflict: Changes in the Arab-Israel Dispute , Journal of Peace Research 35(1): 83–109.

This research aims to analyze change in the Arab-Israel conflict. At its core lies the following theoretical question: How can change in a protracted conflict be detected? Four empirical questions are then addressed. (1) Is the Arab-Israel conflict undergoing change? (2) If so in which realm did change occur? (3) When did change take place? (4) How can change be explained? The theoretical setting explaining change is based on both realist/neo-realist and the regime/neo-liberal approaches in the study of world politics. This essay integrates qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative empirical data is drawn from the Middle East section of the International Crisis Behavior (ICB) database. To measure trends of state behavior in crises, a Crisis Magnitude Index (CMI) has been devised, consisting of three realms: context, process and termination. This index is applied to the 25 crises in the Arab-Israel conflict, between 1947 and 1994, and its total scores are linked to changing conditions which affect the extent of conflict escalation or moderation.