Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet this week to discuss peace talks.
But it’s going to take more than talking for the two leaders of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolve one of modern history’s most complex problems.
In past decades, there have been many failed talks, because of differing interests, that don’t seem to yield any sustainable concessions in the negotiations.
The Israelis seem to hold the bargaining power in this situation — as they can override the Palestinian government — while the Palestinians only dream of the recognition of their long denied state. It will take more than political diplomacy, legal treaties and the constant military intervention to truly bring about peace in the region.
In order for Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and as neighbors in their states, it is vital to address the social and psychological aspects of the conflict.
Rather than continuing the social reproduction of hate and violence used in an attempt to achieve unattainable goals on both sides, it’s time for Israel and Palestine to reconsider their previous modes of approach to one another.
Distorted histories need to be retold accurately to both sides so that future generations are capable of becoming citizens who illuminate ideals of peace and understanding toward each other in society.
It all begins at home.
Mediation needs to begin on the individual level as well as collectively in order for these two nations to forgive each other and move along to a future of peace. As people have an increased understanding of one another and attain mutual respect, the trust for political settlement will set off.
One of the main issues the Palestinians would like to see resolved is the right of return for their hundreds of thousands of refugees who left their homes during the previous Arab-Israeli conflicts. Palestinians would also like to see Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and stop building settlements on land it is occupying illegally under international law.
The status of Jerusalem is also of concern to both the Israelis and Palestinians since they both aspire for the holy city to be their capital.
As for Israel, it seems as though another of their main concerns is security, which is evident in their numerous security checkpoints that restrict the freedom of movement for many Palestinians.
With all these issues on the plate, one can only hope that there will be reconciliation between the two parties.
Sumeyra Aydemir is a senior majoring in political science and international studies.