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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/15/15

Overcoming The Israeli-Palestinian Psychosocial Barrier

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Israeli and Palestinian media should regularly report on positive developments between the two sides, share with the public the changing political wind, and discuss how cooperation on trade, security, healthcare, and joint projects are benefitting ordinary citizens.

This should also include the production of movies, television shows, and plays (including comedy) to reflect how much they have in common and their mutual cultural influence in food, music, and interchangeable Arabic and Hebrew words and jargon.

Finally, female activism: Civil society should support current efforts by women-led groups such as Women in Black and Women Wage Peace to use their formidable power and make their voices heard. Historically, women have been very powerful as peacemakers; this has been demonstrated in a number of conflicts, including in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

These activities and more must constitute the forerunner of any future peace negotiations. Indeed, even if at the present, peace negotiations are not in the offing, given that coexistence is an irrefutable fact, Israeli and Palestinian governments and civil society must begin this process of reconciliation now to create the momentum for future successful negotiations.

None of this will occur without some hurdles, resistance, and even outright acts of sabotage, as there still is a significant constituency on both sides who simply do not accept each other's right for statehood or even to exist, but they can be overcome through persistence in the implementation of these measures.

Nevertheless, if the Israeli and Palestinian leadership are truly committed to peaceful coexistence, this is the only way by which they can demonstrate their commitment and determination to end the conflict based on a two-state solution.

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Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. His dedication to writing about, analyzing, and (more...)

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