Graduate Student Research: Finding a Path to Peace in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

The state of Israel surrounds some of the world’s holiest sites. It is also the location of one of the world’s most complex international diplomatic puzzles. The ever-changing geopolitical landscape hinders the development of permanent peace policy. Policymakers struggle to find international policy formulas that will provide an end to the ongoing conflicts between Israel and Palestine. Despite efforts to mimic the peace between Israel-Jordan and Israel-Egypt, there has been no long-term success between Israel-Palestine.

Florida State University cultivates a culturally diverse environment. After hearing testaments of other student’s perspectives related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I decided to collect data on the situation in Israel. I was particularly interested in the younger generation’s perspectives on the relationship between Israel and Palestine. I created a survey to measure social factors that might hinder interfaith cooperation among young people (ages 18-24): identity overlap and structural abuse. Identity overlap refers to the misconception of ingroup members being “good” and outgroup members being “bad.” Structural abuse refers to the justification of radical actions via a common linkage in society (i.e. faith/affiliation). The purpose of the research was to determine the attitudes of young people towards policy and peace treaties for the future of Israeli and Palestinian relations.

I found that respondents are most influenced by identity overlap. Those who identify as Jewish or Arab are more likely to support ingroup members than those of other faith/affiliations. I use this, and existing, research to make several recommendations, including:

  • Governments involved in mitigating the Israel-Palestine conflict should provide a framework for both the Israeli and Palestinian governments to implement e-governance platforms that promote education that corrects misinformation related to outgroup stigma and negative beliefs.
  • Involved governments should utilize e-governance platforms to organize contact activities that execute the education in the previous step. This engagement may open citizens’ minds to the possibility of interfaith cooperation.
  • Involved governments should create policies that discourage segregation and discrimination. This is recommendation is particularly important since segregation and discrimination hinder interfaith cooperation and a successful peace policy.

By engaging in this research, I learned how difficult the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is to navigate. However, I am optimistic that policymakers can help reduce the negative perceptions that are obstacles to an effective peace process.

Kevin DiMatteo is a graduate student in Public Administration. This post is a summary of his report: Assessing Public Perspectives to Resolve Conflict between Israeli and Palestine.

The feature image is from Wikipedia.

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