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“The face of the enemy: Gender, threat, dehumanization and support for peace in the Israeli Palestinian conflict - experimental and polling data”


February 6, 2014 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Room Offsite


Speaker: Ifat Ma'oz, Professor of Communication and Head of the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Discussant: Lee Ross, Professor of Psychology, Stanford


In the past few decades, planned contact interventions between groups in conflict play an important role in attempts at improving intergroup relations and achieving peace and reconciliation.  This talk focuses on such reconciliation-aimed inter-group encounters between Israeli Jews and Palestinians that attempt to reduce hostility and increase understanding and cooperation between the two nationalities.  Like other contact interventions conducted in settings of intergroup conflict, encounters between Israeli Jews and Palestinians represent a paradoxical project aiming to produce equality and cooperation between groups that are embedded in a protracted, asymmetrical conflict.  Though existing research teaches us valuable lessons on the effectiveness of contact conducted under optimal conditions, little is said about contact between groups involved in an acute dispute. The goal of this analysis is to examine the evolution of reconciliation-aimed contact interventions between Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the past 20 years. The research method is qualitative, relying on ethnographic data assembled during the relevant period of time. The findings identify and trace the evolvement of five major models used within Jewish-Palestinian planned encounters interventions to cope with the reality of conflict and improve intergroup relations: The Coexistence Model, the Joint Projects model, the Confrontational Model, the Narrative-Story-Telling model and the Post-colonial model. The strengths and limitations of each model in transforming relations in asymmetric conflict as well as implications for social justice are discussed.