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Conflict Management
Barriers to Peace in the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict
Prof' Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov 2010
This book presents a detailed study of the various barriers to settling the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, barriers which in their range and complexity have singled out this conflict as a protracted and ongoing conflict. In addition to pointing out substantive, and tangible barriers, this study highlights psychological, religious and cultural barriers that greatly intensify and exacerbate the difficulties in reaching a settlement. These psychological, religious and cultural barriers have framed the core issues of the conflict – Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and borders – not simply as strongly disputed interests, but as protected, sacred values, rooted in religious belief and historical meta-narratives and not open to compromise.

The force and magnitude of the barriers discussed in this book – in particular their portrayal as protected values – inevitably leads to the conclusion that the likelihood of ending the conflict through a settlement is exceedingly low at present. In the absence of conditions that would be effectively conducive both to overcoming these barriers and to reframing the discussion as a dialogue over interests, which are open to compromise, rather than protected values, it is doubtful that it will be at all possible to resolve the conflict. With such a towering mass of barriers standing in the way of peace, any attempt to settle the conflict at this stage is not only doomed to fail, but is also liable to actually increase despondency at the prospect of achieving peace and to bring about renewed violence between the parties. Political leaders who are committed to true peace need to consider these barriers and chart out new and creative ways to address them.

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