Democracy and Violence in the Holy Land

In volume 2 of PRIF’s study series, Claudia Baumgart-Ochse analyzes the relationship of democracy and politicized religious actors in the Middle East Conflict

Why did the Oslo peace process fail? The literature points to the structural shortcomings of the Oslo Accords as well as to the destructive power of  violent, predominantly religious spoilers on both sides. What is missing from these accounts is an evaluation of whether the respective regime types of the opponents influence their conflict behavior. Democratic peace theory would expect that the Israeli democracy prefers non-violent, cooperative ways of conflict resolution because citizens in democracies dismiss the use of force for rational and normative reasons. This raises the question why the State of Israel had its share of responsibility in the renewed escalation of violence despite this expectation.


In volume 2 of the PRIF study series at Nomos publishing house “Demokratie und Gewalt im Heiligen Land. Politisierte Religion in Israel und das Scheitern des Osloer Friedensprozesses“ (Democracy and Violence in the Holy Land. Politicized Religion in Israel and the Failure of the Oslo Peace Process), Claudia Baumgart-Ochse focuses on politicized religious actors in Israel. She analyzes in her PhD dissertation how the Jewish settlement movement made use of the democratic system of Israel and of the ambivalence of Zionism in order to derail the peace process. Drawing on recent research on the role of religion in conflict, she fills the void in democratic peace theory regarding the political relevance of modern politicized religion.