On the reciprocal relation between Israeli foreign and domestic policy in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 2009-2019
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This thesis aims to explore the role and impact of Israel's domestic factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict dynamic in the period of 2009-2019, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It uses the theoretical framework of domestic constraints in foreign policy, as Israel's actions in regards to the Palestinians can be considered a type of foreign policy. To simplify between various sources of domestic influence, the thesis focuses on the party factions within the coalition governments and their bargaining power relative to each other. Thus, the study is based on the formation of the coalitions as the primary arena of internal political contestation, and on the subsequent actions of the government as an agent with executive power in the state. The research examines the causal connections between internal political contestation and foreign policy on the basis that leadership uses the international level to achieve objectives at the domestic level. The objective of the thesis is to enhance the theoretical framework by exploring the mutually reciprocal relations between domestic politics and foreign policy. It suggests that conflictual behavior is not contained to foreign policy, but has also had repercussions for the society as a whole. Accommodating to radical elements and avoiding resolving contentious issues might sustain the leadership's power, but this has put it into a more difficult position to solve long-term problems. Legitimizing the regime erodes the possibilities for peaceful conflict resolution, because alternative options are not explored. Initiatives for retroactive legalization and judicial overhaul weaken the position of rule of law. As these plans are proposed in the protracted conflict situation, they also have the effect of persisting the conflict despite the costs it entails. As the findings are limited to one case, further research is needed to assess their applicability.