Defying The Rules of Conflict Resolution (Israel & Palestine)

From the Jerusalem Post:

Defying the rules of conflict resolution


The study of conflict resolution is prefaced on the notion that two parties in conflict desire a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute, however intractable it may be. The behavior by Israel and the Palestinians, however, suggests otherwise. Both parties are defying essential principles of conflict resolution, serving to prolong rather than conclude their festering conflict.

Diminishing returns 
To achieve a resolution, parties in conflict must believe that continuing their dispute provides diminishing returns. That is, they have exhausted all possibilities to improve upon their position, and the situation of both sides can only be further improved through compromise and cooperation. Recent developments indicate that neither Israel nor the Palestinians have come to this conclusion. In fact, each side has contributed to a preservation of the status quo...


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"Both sides believe that any compromise constitutes a “loss” and the other side’s “gain.” This situation is aggravated by the complete lack of trust between them. Without trust, risks – be they political or real, such as security – are perceived as virtually impossible to take" 


This is a quote from later in this article and I think this happens quite a bit. It's really hard to shift from that mindset that a compromise does not equal a "loss." Is that a human nature thing? Or do we "learn" that mindset at some point in life? 

It seems than this may be more of a function of politics than a failure of dispute resolution. I agree with the stance taken by Alon, however conflict resolution will only work if the people of these countries are willing to accept the terms of whatever agreement the leaders of these countries ultimately hash out. Without popular support for a compromise between the two countries it is unlikely that politicians will ever make the compromises necessary on both sides to resolve this long standing conflict.


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