Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Two States in the Holy Land?: International Recognition and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • Nikola Mirilovic (a1) and David S. Siroky (a2)

How do states decide to extend or withhold international recognition in cases of contested sovereignty? We focus on how religion shapes the incentives of states in making this decision, both at the domestic level through religious institutions and at the international level through religious affinities. States with transnational religious ties to the contested territory are more likely to extend recognition. At the domestic level, states that heavily regulate religion are less likely to extend international recognition. We test these conjectures, and examine others in the literature, with two new data sets on the international recognition of both Palestine and Israel and voting on the United Nations resolution to admit Palestine as a non-member state observer, combined with global data on religious regulation and religious affinities. In cases of contested sovereignty, the results provide support for these two mechanisms through which religion shapes foreign policy decisions about international recognition.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Nikola Mirilovic, Department of Political Science, Howard Phillips Hall, Room 302, University of Central Florida, 4297 Andromeda Loop North, Orlando, FL 32816. E-mail:; or David S. Siroky, Department of Political Science, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 873902, Tempe, AZ 85287-3902. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

C. Achen 2002. “Toward a New Political Methodology: Microfoundations and ART.” Annual Review of Political Science 5:423450

Jonathan Fox . 2007. “Do Democracies Have Separation of Religion and State?Canadian Journal of Political Science 40:125.

Jonathan Fox . 2006. “World Separation of Religion and State into the 21st Century.” Comparative Political Studies 39:537.

, David S. Siroky , Bidzina Lebanidze , and Zurab Iashvili . 2013. “Thinking Outside the Bloc: Explaining the Foreign Policies of Small States.” Security Studies 22:98131.

Henry Hale . 2000. “The Parade of Sovereignities: Testing Theories of Secession in the Soviet Setting.” British Journal of Political Science 30:3156.

Jeffrey W. Legro 2011. “Sell Unipolarity? The Future of an Overvalued Concept.” In International Relations Theory and the Consequences of Unipolarity, eds. John Ikenberry , Michael Mastanduno , and William Wohlforth . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zeev Maoz . 1989. “Joining the Club of Nations.” International Studies Quarterly 33:199231.

Nuno P. Monteiro 2014. Theory of Unipolar Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pitman B. Potter 2003. “Belief in Control: Regulation of Religion in China.” The China Quarterly 174:317337.

James Ron . 2011. “Palestine, the UN, and the One-State Solution.” Middle East Policy 18:5967.

Stephen M. Saideman 2002. “Discrimination in International Relations: Analyzing External Support for Ethnic Groups.” Journal of Peace Research 39:2750.

Stephen M. Saideman 2007. “Ties versus Institutions: Revisiting Foreign Interventions and Secessionist Movements.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 40:733747.

Yezid Sayigh . 2000. “Palestine's Prospects.” Survival 42:520.

Barbara Walter . 2006. “Building reputation: Why Governments Fight Some Separatists but not Others.” American Journal of Political Science 50:313330.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics and Religion
  • ISSN: 1755-0483
  • EISSN: 1755-0491
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-religion
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 36 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 221 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.