Conflict resolution and asymmetric conflict: The contradictions of planned contact interventions in Israel and Palestine

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This paper critically analyses a contradictory phenomenon experienced by local-level conflict resolution initiatives in Israel and Palestine. Despite their widespread utilization in other contexts of inter-communal conflict, facilitated contact interventions, including citizen dialogue and arranged encounters between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, are being rejected and publicly denounced by many within the Palestinian and Israeli conflict resolution community in this case. This paper contributes to an understanding of this rejection by investigating arguments in favour of and against planned contact intervention initiatives through an analysis of interview narratives from 40 respondents working for peace and conflict resolution organisations in Israel and the West Bank as well as secondary research reports. Our analysis reveals deeply conflicting viewpoints. Arguments in favour of contact-based strategies suggest that they have the potential to disrupt an entrenched status quo of asymmetry-inspired social segregation. Conversely, arguments against suggest that these conflict resolution initiatives are struggling to level power asymmetry and bypass the structural and historical drivers of violence. In response, this paper introduces a grounded proposal for conflict resolution inside asymmetric conflict that emerges from the interview narratives of practitioners, themselves, regarding effective strategies, the nature of agency, and the scope of influence of local-level contact-based conflict resolution initiatives inside asymmetric conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Early online date6 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Intercultural Relations. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 66, (2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2018.06.006

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Conflict resolution
  • power asymmetry
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • contact
  • dialogue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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