Peace-Building in Israel and Palestine: Social Psychology and Grassroots Initiatives

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What is Kobo Super Points? Peace-building in Israel and Palestine: Social Psychology and Grassroots Initiatives (): J. Chaitin: Books. Social Psychology and Grassroots Initiatives new conceptualizations for Israeli- Palestinian co-creation of a grassroots peace and social justice processes.

If continued to be developed and tested on further groups, however, it poses a great deal of potential to serve as a predictive tool in contending with online and discursive conflicts in real time. A preliminary answer to this can be found in the responses to the question of current engagements solicited in the conference questionnaire.

Duplicate citations

There, of the 28 projects cited, the top three accounting for 12 of the 28 citations, not including those of MLC sponsored platforms , are all online-based platforms. For a good number of participants, participation in peace programs, for the time being, seems to mean affiliation with additional online networks. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Firstly, many of the participants being newcomers to the world of peacebuilding, online communities may be the best and easiest way to proceed: a way of being networked even if as passive participants in wider platforms based primarily on more networking and contact.

In the absence of a real space in which to work together, it is no surprise that many participants embraced the online platform as a productive way to mobilize and promote peace.

"If Annexation Happens, No Peace for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

Israelis, by contrast, tended to be less enthused about the online platform than their counterparts from Gaza or other MENA countries. The second and much more notable difference between this program and its counterparts in the traditional approach to bridging Israelis and Palestinians is its emphasis on dealing directly with conflictual issues.

As noted above, the central criticism of the majority of Israeli-Palestinian encounter programs of the past has been their emphasis on the finding of common ground, to the point that they have traditionally shied away completely from contentious issues Maoz The MLC program encouraged the opposite, making the negotiation of highly politicized and contentious differences between participants a central focus of the program. Further, it seems to have taken the proper steps to ensure that the ensuing interactions did not thoroughly undermine the program: participants were screened carefully before being accepted, underwent online training segments from which they claim to have above all developed their listening skills and motivation to understand, and finally, were given an online forum in which to interact and in which they were carefully monitored and guided.

Given the proportionally very small number of criticisms and dropouts from the program as a result of this, this approach should be seen as a resounding success. The results of the project demonstrate how using social media platforms, particularly Facebook, assist in managing common challenges in people-people dialogue.

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In what follows, we will elaborate on the challenges of people to people dialogue and the opportunities presented by online platforms. The pillar of peacebuilding efforts based on grassroots initiatives resonates in the participants it targets. By definition, people to people dialogue projects represent a bottom-up strategy for conflict resolution, targeting the wide public or segments of it and not decision makers. Instead of signing peace agreements, the goals of the grassroots work are defined as changing attitudes and negative perceptions and have a wide, scalable impact among the masses.

This approach has encountered difficulties in achieving its goals due to common challenges of effective participation. Dialogue projects that involve intergroup conflict usually attract those who have the willingness and motivation to meet with the other side. The attitudes and perceptions of those participants do not need to be changed, therefore the entire projects losses its relevance when there is no need to perform change. Similarly, it is difficult to find a positive target group for intergroup dialogue projects such as hardliners, minorities or influential people in communities who are the actual agents of change.

Those usually lack the interest to meet the so called enemy or the time and effort to attend the joint meetings. Finally, in areas of harsh intractable conflicts, it is unpleasant and even dangerous for members of the community to be seen talking and being in the same room with members of a conflicting community.

People try to avoid being criticized or risk for their lives in favor of intergroup dialogue. Social media platforms offer a partial solution for the challenge of participation. Social media platforms are characterized as popular, attractive and user friendly which make them easier to achieve effective recruitment. Hardliners and even extremists have less objections to engage in a dialogue that is based on a virtual platform, where they can first simply be bystanders and then decide if they wish to actively participate.

The online platform serves as an easy jumping board to dive into more difficult discussions. Those who fear hearing accusations and difficult stories are able to log off on the online platform. Moreover, busy participants who are usually active in the social-political-business scenes, are easily able to spend a few minutes every day or at the end of the day, check the latest updates in the online group.

Participation in an online dialogue requires less physical and emotional effort. Using it, participants can overcome identity challenges. Another limitation for the effectiveness of people-people dialogue projects is the re-entry problem- the situation in which participants leave the dialogue setting and return to their societies and natural environments — between each meeting session or at the end of the program. The attitude-perception changing process, which the participants are going through, is only effective when the process continues for a long period of time.

Generally, dialogue projects are limited in time due to budget and other technical or political obstacles. The resources included in a project such as funds, availability of staff and participants, and political stability allow the interaction to be held in for a relatively short time and in little recurrence. Moreover, the re-entry problem is even more evident once the project ends and participants go back to their own societies. Social media can contribute to coping with the problem of reentry, by offering limitless and continuous interaction.

The participants who become Facebook friends, or communicate via Twitter, Linkedin, Whattsapp or similar platforms are exposed to the opinions, thoughts and daily happenings of each another.


The continuous interaction contributes to the effectiveness of the conflict transformation process since it is promotes a smoother flow and progress, without the need to frequently restart it, as participants avoid re-entry. In most conflicts there is an imbalance of power between parties which is due to differences in military, economic and diplomatic power. When trying to facilitate a dialogue between conflicting parties, it is crucial to ensure that the environment balance the power asymmetry allowing the groups a safe place when they can feel comfortable to express and discuss.

Duplicate citations

The project was funded by the US. Marteu, E. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Mobilizing mass support is extremely difficult when people are experiencing daily loss and constant struggle. Moreover, the end of the Cold War and the Gulf War reinforced changes within both Israel and the PLO, and emphasized the importance of peaceful reconciliation. The role and hegemony of sovereign nation states have shifted in the aftermath of the Cold War making conflict resolution extremely difficult.

In addition, a balanced dialogue environment helps to create trust between the parties and the facilitators-organizing institution, therefore supports the effectiveness and success of the process. Finding a physical neutral ground to hold meetings could be costly and difficult bureaucratically, especially when there is a need for entry permits, long distance travelling and similar unfavorable circumstances.

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The virtual world and social media platforms in particular could serve as a neutral meeting place where power asymmetry is not as visible. Under such conditions, the facilitation of the process is under full control of the organizing institution which can use the technological software to ensure power balance throughout the process. Peacebuilding dialogue encounters require infrastructure and resources such as funds, acceptable venues for meetings amongst others based on the type of project.

Unlike official track one negotiations which many states compete to host and get the prestige and credit for hosting, track three workshops and dialogue meetings require substantial amounts of funds.

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Most of the funding goes towards meeting facilities such as hotels, conference rooms and transportation such as buses and flights. The problem is exacerbated when there is a need to find a neutral ground to hold the meetings which often narrows down possibilities to distant and pricy locations, especially in violent conflict zones.

Holding the dialogue on a social media platform saves those costs and as it represents a virtual, safe, easy to access and free of charge venue. Additionally, it saves energy and contributes to a clean and sustainable environment. One of the most notable points of criticisms of dialogue programs is their ineffectiveness and limited —if any- impact on the conflict.

The most common tools that are used to measure and evaluate peacebuilding dialogue programs are surveys that are handed out in different time spans throughout the program. The validity of surveys is questionable especially since they represent an opinion in a certain moment and depend on the understanding of a certain question. Conducting Structured Online Community Interfaces enables the development of a new evaluation system. Using tools like the Online Narrative Matrix, rigorous analyses of conflict dynamics can be further developed, to the point of predictive validity.

International conflicts continue to evolve as new actors, new dimensions and new technologies influence the complexity of political and social systems and processes. In this disruptive era, which some refer to as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is essential to find new, creative and innovative ideas to mitigate, transform and resolve conflicts. The application of online social media platforms such as Facebook in conflict resolution processes is not only helpful, but imperative since human communication nowadays takes place on the virtual space as it does on the physical one.

The case study presented in this paper offers conflict resolution researchers and practitioners not just a new methodology, but a new path to think, analyze and address international conflicts through technology. The use of Facebook communities does hold several challenges. First and foremost, the project must take place in a place where potential participants have free and easy access to internet and where social media platforms are popular.

In addition, the ongoing, almost non-stop online facilitation requires special preparation as online training for facilitators and more funds allocated for it. The methods for assessing the efficacy of this programming the ODM also needs to be developed into a rigorous, predictive tool— a process that will require ongoing iterations and testing. Finally, the long-term scalable impact on the conflict remains ambiguous.

Peace-building in Israel and Palestine

It is therefore the obligation of researchers and practitioners to keep finding for new, innovative ways to address international conflicts through peacebuilding ,as is the obligation of politicians and negotiators to find ways to resolve international conflicts through diplomacy. Amichai-hamburger, Y Ed. Davies and Edward Kaufman, pp. Lanham, Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield. In: Sycara, M. Gelfand and A.

Abbe Eds.