Societal Conflict Defies Peace Diplomacy: Evidence from the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

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Abstract

This paper synthesizes interrelated postulations from the systemic conflict and intergroup conflict theorizations to glean the societal conflict conceptual framework. The paper employs this conceptual framework to appraise the validity of the societal characterization of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the peace diplomacy era. Accordingly, the analysis uses the ‘structured, focused comparison’ qualitative method to investigate attitudinal and behavioral aspects of five cases of intercommunal violence within the Palestinian-Israeli context. The observed cumulative evidence indicates that the unresolved conflict has been exhibiting the conceptual properties of societal conflict throughout more than 25 years since the introduction of the Middle East peace process in 1991. Overall, the study explores the social, psychological, and political aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, accentuates the societal underpinnings of intercommunal violence, and provides basis for perceiving the limited success of peace diplomacy.

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