This paper seeks to explain and predict the prospects for territorial conflict resolution. Through an examination of the decision by Israel and the PLO to enter into negotiations surrounding the 1993 Oslo accords, the article argues that ‘national role conception’, stemming from a state’s conception of its own sovereignty, helps to predict relative levels of hawkishness or dovishness regarding territorial disputes. Furthermore, an examination of three ‘sovereignty indicators’ – pan-national versus state sovereignty, symbolic attachment to land, and degree of exclusionary discourse used to consolidate political community illustrates that the latter indicator is the more important determinant of territorial conflict resolution. This finding draws attention to the relative importance of elites in bringing about initial foreign policy change. However, given that only modest success has been reached in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the article suggests that for comprehensive peace to be reached, the entire polity must be mobilised towards such an end. Building upon the current debate regarding the role of boundaries in the contemporary international system, this study suggests that the pursuit of territorial conflict resolution is largely propelled by ideational and discursive factors.