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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like every conflict between ethnic or national groups, is rooted in national and religious narratives. Cases in point are Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Kosovo and more. Each side in the conflict uses a variety of justifications—historical, religious and moral, in order to dictate their terms and place themselves in a superior position vis- à-vis the other.

Each party’s justifications stem from a one-dimensional perception of the conflict as a zero-sum struggle between two collective groups. Thus in the Jewish narrative, the land under dispute is the Biblical Promised Land, now cast as the Greater Land of Israel including the West Bank and a united Jerusalem, whereas in the Palestinian narrative the land under dispute, or most of it, belongs to the Palestinian people who lived and thrived on it in freedom and dignity up until 1948.

In order to bring about a transformation that could yield a solution to the conflict, we must free our mindsets from the prison of a narrow collective narrative and create a new framework that would be expansive enough to contain the narratives of both national groups who share this land.

In the past few years, scholars have described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an “intractable conflict” by which they mean that it is unusually complex and long-lasting, characterised by violence, and very difficult to resolve. Defining the conflict in such terms is rooted in the view that the power of collective narratives compounded by the long lasting nature of this conflict have given rise to powerful psychological-social forces which make this conflict so difficult to resolve.

Of course, the centrality of the religious forces and narratives in the Israeli Palestinian conflict makes it even more complicated. The two sides confront each other over the legitimacy of their religious historical-geographical narratives as they relate to the sacred sites, particularly those with great historical and religious significance such as Jerusalem. Therefore, “historical Palestine” in the Palestinian narrative and “Greater Israel” in the Jewish narrative are locked in a perpetual clash. In times when no solution appears on the horizon, the conflict becomes a collision path between the narratives.

The key to solving the conflict will be found if, among other things, both sides can move away from their strong attachment to their collective narratives and the public sphere and give a greater importance to the private sphere.

Letting go of aspects of the collective narrative does not mean abandoning one’s positions, but rather, neutralising its overwhelming influence and dominance over the conflict. Literary theorist Monica Fludernik coined the term “narrativisation”—an interactive process that allows for the construction of narratives. This method, in my opinion, could enable the two major groups who live in conflict on this stretch of land to build a common narrative that is founded not on collective historical narratives, but rather on values of civil and human rights, primarily the right to live in freedom and equality. This would be relevant not only for Israelis and Palestinians but also for Jewish-Arab relations within Israel.

Yes, it is true that constructing common narratives is no easy feat. And in fact it is not even a tested theory. It would require both sides in the conflict to look for creative ways to implement the profound conceptual change that such a shift would entail. This means compromise. But only such change can generate a historical reconciliation that goes beyond and is more sustainable than a political solution on its own.

Constructing a common narrative needs to take place in several areas simultaneously: education, the economy, politics, the media and more. For example programmes on democracy, human rights and multi-culturalism must be integrated into the education system as a central component on both sides. This is necessary for increasing the importance of the values of human dignity and human rights in the eyes of the young generations particularly if the programmes would offer tangible tools for shaping coexistence based on dignity and equality.

A profound conceptual change would have to take place across the entire decision making spectrum away from narrow national, religious or political interests to a broader, more integrated perspective that sees the greater good and shared interests as fundamental guiding principles. In order to move towards a joint future, those who are in a position of power would have a responsibility to shape their work based on this principle of a common good which would encompass the two narratives.

Perhaps this sounds pretentious and like wishful thinking. But will we continue to let the past dominate over our present and future? Can we not,ֹ Jews and Arabs, finally make this change and enjoy living together in a shared common sphere and in peace?

amalyaz@zahav.net.il

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Comment by Mr : ibrahim Asfour on June 8, 2010 at 11:08am
Dear freind peacemakers
good day
The policy pursued by the Israeli government and put obstacles in order to achieve a just peace in the region and its
Current if it continues this approach undoubtedly lead to war and occupation is not responsible for the land under the pretext that this view of the Promised Land after the religious faiths and a link in the holy land of religious beliefs and demographic dimensions for each of the
Israelis and Filstaibn requires a style of negotiations for a recognized borders of both countries in accordance with UN resolutions and the Security Council and not to apply the Mizrahi and the implementation of these decisions Swdy of course to the conflict in the region, as we see that the situation is getting whisperers and the deterioration of relations obtain Israeli Arab and world countries on the impact of current events, but I see before it's too late
Peace-makers in the countries of the world to pray for the Conference of an international call for the establishment of a just peace in the region on the basis of a fixed
Determine the borders of each state and the removal of the occupation of land by force and the expansion of settlement and to consider all its neighbors that pounded the Arab states and not the United States and other countries, and the solution is the establishment of two states, Palestinian and Asirailip federal union for peace
Just in the region, there is no way to achieve peace, but the Conference on world peace to resolve the conflict Middle Eastern before the deterioration and strikes in the region for generations to come towards the achievement of a just peace and a war recent against Gaza was louder than the Holocaust against the Jews by the Nazis, even if you had seen the events of the war on Gaza and what happened to Velstunain in Gaza to change your opinion about the need to M. tuberculosis just limit Abata in the region and limit the possible war on the peace-makers Wen associations in favor of peace should let the peace conference and to avoid people from
The scourge of war generations to enjoy peace and cooperation among nations and peace in the interest of Asirail because they will enjoy international relations and Arab economic cooperation and to achieve a just peace in the region


ساهم بترجمة أفضل
شكراً لمساهمتك في تقديم اقتراح حول الترجمة في خدمة Google للترجمة.
ساهم بترجمة أفضل:
The policy pursued by the Israeli government and put obstacles in order to achieve a just peace in the region and itsCurrent if it continues this approach undoubtedly lead to war and occupation is not responsible for the land under the pretext that this view of the Promised Land after the religious faiths and a link in the holy land of religious beliefs and demographic dimensions for each of theIsraelis and Filstaibn requires a style of negotiations for a recognized borders of both countries in accordance with UN resolutions and the Security Council and not to apply the Mizrahi and the implementation of these decisions Swdy of course to the conflict in the region, as we see that the situation is getting whisperers and the deterioration of relations obtain Israeli Arab and world countries on the impact of current events, but I see before it's too latePeace-makers in the countries of the world to pray for the Conference of an international call for the establishment of a just peace in the region on the basis of a fixedDetermine the borders of each state and the removal of the occupation of land by force and the expansion of settlement and to consider all its neighbors that pounded the Arab states and not the United States and other countries, and the solution is the establishment of two states, Palestinian and Asirailip federal union for peaceJust in the region, there is no way to achieve peace, but the Conference on world peace to resolve the conflict Middle Eastern before the deterioration and strikes in the region for generations to come towards the achievement of a just peace and a war recent against Gaza was louder than the Holocaust against the Jews by the Nazis, even if you had seen the events of the war on Gaza and what happened to Velstunain in Gaza to change your opinion about the need to M. tuberculosis just limit Abata in the region and limit the possible war on the peace-makers Wen associations in favor of peace should let the peace conference and to avoid people fromThe scourge of war generations to enjoy peace and cooperation among nations and peace in the interest of Asirail because they will enjoy international relations and Arab economic cooperation and to achieve a just peace in the region

With my greate
Ibrahim Asfour
Comment by Linda Feldman on June 7, 2010 at 10:51pm
You have raised a critical issue with this posting . Unfortunately, I am unable to give a detailed response just now, but will get back to you once my technical situation improves.
Comment by Libby and Len Traubman on June 5, 2010 at 5:54am
To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to
understand the suffering of both sides.
If we take sides, it is
impossible to do the work of reconciliation.
And humans want to take sides.
That is why the situation gets worse and worse.
Are there people who are still available to both sides?
They need not do much. They need do only one thing:
Go to one side and tell all about
the suffering endured by the other side, and
go to the other side and tell all about
the suffering endured by this side.
This is our chance for peace.
But how many of us are able to do that?

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk
Comment by Libby and Len Traubman on June 5, 2010 at 5:51am
"There" are two stories here and there is a quality of transcendence - seeing
beyond the 'Jewish Narrative' or the 'Palestinian Narrative' - to a perspective that can
humanize both sides and hear the 'other' story. A transcender after all has
abandoned the exclusive quality of his or her narrative of origin."

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Hartford, CT
Comment by Mr : ibrahim Asfour on June 4, 2010 at 11:59am
Dear freind peacemakder
good day I Khosrtaat Government Asiraiiel credibility of the peace to the world and back face Kqiq to Hnzp Kkomp assault ships of freedom and peace activists were invited to take part the Government of Israel to bring this ship loaded with humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and says for all the world and the government of Israel wants peace, but the government and the Minister of Defence lost Almarmp true
Opportunities for peace and Gaza is neither war and Ezagaof the Holocaust against the Jews and this video he explains the evil of the war on Lase
Unarmed people demanding Bhbakp to exist and the state Bjdoatr State of Israel and on the 1967 borders, but the government of Israel Ahzt
Expansion of settlements and expulsion of Filsitunaion from their land and their homes and burning them Anlaatdae Msagdjam by the Zionists Almmtaatpartyin
Any binge Hakion were not Jews because the Jewish religion of peace, love and no harm is only ever a third party, but we strongly condemn the abusive to the messengers of peace and Ifetcomer crumbs ء that Jmazia Allbh humans and gave us this land to live it with love and peace Baa
Comment by Jennifer A. Miskin-Flake on May 28, 2010 at 11:46pm
I feel VERY strongly about the power of narratives, and am completely convinced that there will be no full peace in the region (or the world at large), unless there is a reframing of the narrative or story of the past, that includes both/all peoples of the region, as one. I posted over in the mepeace.org Transformation thread, about how we need a united vision for what peace will look like. But just as importantly, we need a united vision of what the past means to us. We cannot discard or dismiss the past. We have to look at it fully and honestly. But a narrative that calls us one people, instead of separate people, is a NECESSITY. I think that mepeace.org could have a role in creating such a narrative. I've thought I've trying my hand at it myself and starting to tell the story.

Again -- as important as a united future is, full peace will also never be reached without a united view of the past. This does not mean we all need to think the same . . . but the two stories that divide us into tribes have to become one story of one people.

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