Like a chess game: radical right-wing activists explain their part in violent clashes with the state

Yair Yassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many members of minority groups clash violently with state agents. The case of the Israeli West-Bank Settlers’ Right-Wing Activists is particularly paradoxical. Unlike disempowered groups whose ability to bring about change is limited–the Settlers constitute a powerful sociopolitical force, and the security forces with which Settler Right-Wing Activists clash, also protect them in territories to which they claim sovereignty. Based on 20 semi-structured interviews, this article provides explanations Settler Right-Wing Activists give to violent clashes in which they were involved. The findings present two non-mutually exclusive possibilities: (1) violence is perceived as an acceptable sociopolitical change strategy. Interviewees agree to risk themselves as individuals (but not to risk their group) in exchange for potential benefits such as preventing settlement evacuation; (2) Violence indicates declining mainly four out of six different components of perceived state legitimacy: trust, distributive justice, procedural justice, and legality, but primarily not identification and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-428
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Radical right-wing activists
  • West-bank
  • perceived state legitimacy
  • political violence
  • settlers
  • sociopolitical change strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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