The chief cause of the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The chief cause of the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the distorted conception that each side entertains in regards both its own national identity and the national identity of the other. Our only hope is to launch a lively, open public debate on questions of national identity. If you sympathize, let us talk.

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Nice job, Chen. Make sure to ask people to read your attachments and add a comment.
Hi chen,

It was great to see text of Agasi as I studies a lot with Dr. Moshe Berent and some with Agasi. So I enjoyed from the constitution article.

My main issue with it is that I am not sure that Israel is ready for constitution, as we see many groups try to set constitution it is very politically biased and so it has many obstacles to be manifested. We have a glottalization wave in emerging and I think that for "constitutions" we are not different from other nations and look to adopt working principals.

The national era is at its end, we now have abilities to form more complex structures then what the 20th century Zionist could for us the Israelis we need to develop better understanding of our role in the future of the middle east with the Arabs and Palestinians, Any constitution at this stage is dengues to make our relationship with the non Jews Israelis and the Palestinians unresolvable for many more years.
Dear Neri
Thanks for the response
you say you are not sure that Israel is ready for constitution: in this you do not dispute either Agassi or me. I myself feel quite sure that Israel is not ready. The thesis is not that Israel is ready for a constitution; the thesis is not even that we need a constitution: maybe we do, but only maybe. The thesis is that we need a wide and an honest public debate about a constitution. in such a discussion things such as those that you say in your last paragraph need to be said and heard, of course.

Best, Chen

Israel need change, but we do not know how it can be formed we know today much more then we knew in the 50th so we can work in new pathes to form change and update our culture for the good.

What is your vision of change, how do you think we can progress and change the direction of decay to a direction of growth ?

(As I told you I am from the philosophy background and familiar with major work done in the west)
I agree with you that each side’s concepts of national identity and how that relates to personal identity really drives this conflict and is the barrier to finding solutions.
There are plenty of tools to analyze the identity aspect of the conflict both from our side and the other’s. And I posted a few frameworks on mepeace at,, and but this is only relevant to those who are at that stage where they are interested in self-analysis.

Three questions:
1, Do you think Palestinians would be interested in this debate? I say this because my gut instinct is the two groups are at very different levels and have very different needs so when we do communicate, most of what is intended by each is not understood by the other side (or perhaps understood but the other party doesn’t know what to do with that information). Palestinians are much more interested in dealing with tangible issues that affect them day to day (closures, checkpoints, violence from the IDF, lack of rights, justice, etc.). Israelis who have comparatively quiet lives can more afford to talk about issues of identity but are unwilling because it is too threatening. So there is an imbalance in perspectives as well.

2. How do you get people to begin that analysis and in what format? I would love to have an open, honest and transparent discussion on these (and any other issues) and I would love to observe the same on the Palestinian side. In fact, I think that transparency of being able to watch as each of our societies evolve is crucial to moving forward together.

3. How do you limit the zero-sum debates that always seem to be generated in dialogue? My fear is that just as each difference in opinion becomes a conflict of loyalties on one side, when the two sides meet each issue becomes a symbol of the larger conflict which quickly turns into a debate that one side must win. How can we overcome this tendency we all have (including me)?
Dear corey
I thank you dearly for your questions. Allow me to answer them briefly.
1. I do not know of more than three or four people who are interested in the debate I am suggesting – and as of the future – I have no idea who else will become interested. I only think that without generating this interest we are doomed. Is that tangible enough for people who are plagued with hunger, closure, terror of all kinds etc.? I do not know: I can only hope.
2. The format I most recommend is that of the democratic agenda in which people try to reach an agreement on a question and then debate it openly and friendlily with no intention of winning or convincing and with no defensiveness.
3. If I understand correctly (please correct me if I don't) you are asking about the way to avoid becoming defensive. The most popular way to do so is to avoid saying anything at all, such as takes place in philosophy departments where people talk esoterically which always gives a sensation of things being said without anything actually being said; or as takes place in peace gatherings in which people chant mantras like "dialogue" and "the other" as a means of avoiding any dialogue with any other.

I know of only one way to avoid defensiveness without having to pay such a heavy price as that, and it is the one stated above in my previous answer to you. It is far from perfect but it is the only one I know.
Chen Yehezkely

You brought deep and complex questions here one need few hours to go through this material.

how is the best way to approach discussion about this?
Dear Neri
Thanks, you are very kind
The best way to approach a discussion is to agree on a question. Of course it can turn out that the chosen question leads nowhere, so then we may replace it.
you can not imagine how hot is the discussion about national identity within Palestinian intellectuals. The Palestinian Identity is attacked from the "Arabic, Islamic, post-national, multi-cultural, .. "- identities. There is almost zero agreement thats why I see Chen initiative is on the right place.

What I miss in the paper to have complete outlook for an integral debate and initiative is
1. the understanding of "Democracy" and Governance to explain the relationship between dysfunctional identity (failure of nation building) and corruption, because I see the classical political structure is based and do exist because of manipulation of "radical" reality and neglecting true facts in behalf of keeping the power.

2. If you have a look on this Simplified Anatomy of the Global Systemic Crisis you will see many parallelism to our conflict and situation in the Israel/Palestine, which make about of our case a model of global healing! This is a second reason why the debate is essential.
If we would add this additional element to the analyse the initiative and and strategical solution based on it would interconnect other (global) relationships and root causes to the debates.

It is a bitty for me to have less time push the debate in other directions now.

How to go from here:

1. Start an editing project
Dr. Chen will take proper feedbacks into the documents and enhance it. The best to do on wiki-site any one of those will do

2. Get Palestinian modern thinker to the debate

3. Release first common paper in the web (in Arabic translation as well)

4. Promote for the new language for peace there and try to get network Peace Alliance on those new commons.

PS: Sorry that I just flow through the document .. more feedback later on.
Dear Jafra
Thank you kindly
I embrace your contribution completely, especiially the remark concerning the linkage between disfunctional nationality and political corruption: the two are but two sides of one coin. Also your optimistic remark: if we could bring reconciliation in the middle East, this will have an immediate effect worldwide in oh so many ways.
Hi Dr. Chen,
The issue of identity is a vital one. Both modern "Israeli" and "Palestinian" are young
identities, in many ways still evolving, though rooted in the past as well.
There is a lot to say about this. I hope we get to talk sometime soon.
me too.



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