Transforming the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: From Mutual Negation to Reconciliation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transforming the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

From Mutual Negation to Reconciliation, 1st Edition

By Herbert C. Kelman

Edited by Philip Mattar, Neil Caplan


248 pages

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This book is a collection of essential essays on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by eminent social psychologist Herbert C. Kelman.

Few experts or practitioners know the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Kelman, and for over forty years he has conducted interactive problem-solving workshops at Harvard University and elsewhere, engaging more than one hundred Israeli, Arab and Palestinian political activists, journalists and intellectuals in constructive dialogue. Spanning the years 1978 to 2017, the essays gathered here are still relevant today, and attest to the author’s broad empathy for Palestinians and Israelis and his passionate pursuit of a resolution of their conflict based on consistent principles that satisfy the essential psychological needs and minimum political interests of both. The selected essays are not only insightful academic papers, but also serve as snapshots-in-time of the ebb and flow of conflict and peace efforts as well as guideposts for future would-be negotiators and facilitators.

This volume will be of much interest to students of Middle Eastern politics, peace and conflict studies, and international relations, and will help would-be negotiators and mediators in practice.


'The book will especially be appreciated by students who wish to improve their understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, in a larger sense, of the socio-psychological foundations of prolonged international struggles. Researchers specializing in other international conflicts will also benefit from the light it shines on issues ranging from self-determination to track two (backchannel) diplomacy. Those already savvy in the subject will not miss the tight connection between Kelman’s articles and the evolving events of the conflict. From his post-1973 Yom Kippur/October War articles to his pre-Second Intifada insights, Kelman writes on contemporary issues without forsaking his bird’s-eye view as a social and political psychologist.'--Oded Adomi Leshem, Israel Studies Review, 33.3

Table of Contents

Editors’ Introduction Philip Mattar and Neil Caplan

Section 1 The Road to Mutual Recognition

1. Israelis and Palestinians: Psychological Prerequisites for Mutual Acceptance (1978)

2. Creating the Conditions for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations (1982)

3. Talk with Arafat (1982)

4. The Political Psychology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: How Can We Overcome the Barriers To a Negotiated Solution? (1987)

5. The Palestinianization of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988)

Section 2 The Opening of Negotiations and the Oslo Process

6. Acknowledging the Other’s Nationhood: How to Create a Momentum for the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations (1992)

7. Contributions of an Unofficial Conflict Resolution Effort to the Israeli-Palestinian Breakthrough (1995)

8. Some Determinants of the Oslo Breakthrough (1997)

9. Building A Sustainable Peace: The Limits of Pragmatism in the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations (1998)

10. The Interdependence of Israeli and Palestinian National Identities: The Role of the Other in Existential Conflicts (1999)

Section 3 The Breakdown of Negotiations and Efforts to Revive Them

11. Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Inching Toward and Looking Beyond Negotiations (2007)

12. Palestinian Refugees (2010)

with Lenore Martin

13. A One-Country / Two-State Solution To the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2011)

14. Constructing a Narrative of Reconciliation: A Personal Plea for Transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

About the Author/Editors

Herbert C. Kelman is Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics, Emeritus, at Harvard University, USA. His major publications include International Behavior (editor; 1965), A Time to Speak (1968), and Crimes of Obedience (with V. Lee Hamilton; 1989). He is Honorary President of the Herbert C. Kelman Institute for Interactive Conflict Transformation, based in Austria.

Philip Mattar is the editor of the Encyclopedia of the Palestinians and of the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. He is author of The Mufti of Jerusalem. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow at The Woodrow Wilson Center, and a Senior Fellow at the US Institute for Peace. He was a founder of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC) and director of the Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington, D.C.

Neil Caplan taught at Vanier College and at McGill, Concordia and Queens Universities in Canada until his retirement in 2008. His publications include Palestine Jewry and the Arab Question, 1917-1925, Futile Diplomacy, 1913-1956 (4 vols.¬), The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories, and (with Laura Eisenberg) Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: Patterns, Problems, Possibilities.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution

The field of peace and conflict research has grown enormously as an academic pursuit in recent years, gaining credibility and relevance amongst policy makers and in the international humanitarian and NGO sector. The Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution series aims to provide an outlet for some of the most significant new work emerging from this academic community, and to establish itself as a leading platform for innovative work at the point where peace and conflict research impacts on International Relations theory and processes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / Israel
HISTORY / Middle East / General
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights