Gad Barzilai, “War, Democracy, and Internal Conflict: Israel in a Comparative Perspective” Comparative Politics 31(3) (April 1999): 317-336.

War, Democracy, and Internal Conflict: Israel in a Comparative Perspective


Many scholars of international relations still aim to conceptualize the phenomenon
of war as a predominantly international event. This article shifts the analytical outlook.
It looks at wars from the perspective of domestic politics, where war is perceived not only as a result of internal propensities but also as a cause of internal upheavals, dissent, or consent. How is internal political order in democracies influenced by wars? The relevant dilemma is how dissent and consent are formed in wartime. I examine how contrasting political dilemmas and attitudes regarding military force interactw ith characteristicso f wars and military operations,s tate apparatuses, fear responses, threat concepts, cultural values (mainly those affecting political behavior), and political institutions (primarily ruling coalitions).
My main concerni s not how wars are conductedm ilitarilyb, ut ratherh ow a society
is mobilized, managed, and affected by adverse security conditions. I combine an analysis of the Arab-Palestinian-Israecloi nflictw ith studiesa boutc onflicts and ordert o show how dissent and consent, internationalc onflicts, and state power and legitimacy are linked in democracies. Political order in democracies, including Israel, is not a direct outcome or mere reflection of wars. Instead, consent and dissent in times of international militarye mergencya nd its effects on constitutionafl undamentalso f democracya re to greate xtenti nternalp oliticalp henomenas tronglyi nfluencedb y internalc auses.
This study emphasizes the prime importance of political institutions in the historical
context of cultural contingencies. It finds that political institutions, primarily ruling coalitions, are forces that generate political order due to structural constraints and political interests.I n contrastt o most studies of the Arab-Palestinian-Israelcio nflict
and military conflicts, this study investigates the much broader context of internal
political processes and the blurred, overlapping boundaries between international
and domestic affairs.

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