Mediators Without Borders and the Efficacy of Community Mediation Centers in Israel and Palestine

Jenna Homeyer

Since Israel declared statehood in 1948, Israelis and Palestinians have been geologically, politically, and culturally forced in opposite directions. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has dominated the news for the last 40 years. The United States, United Nations, Egypt, and the European Union have all attempted to act as mediators between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, but what about the people? Maybe the key to peace is not through foreign governments, but through directly establishing relationships between the people of Israel and Palestine.

After the second intifada, Israel began constructing a separation wall, isolating Palestinians living in the West Bank from Israelis living on the other side. The millennial generation of Israelis’ first contact with Palestinians will most likely be when they enroll in the Israel Defense Force (“IDF”) and a Palestinian from the West Bank will most likely first encounter an Israeli while walking through a checkpoint. How can both sides reconcile when they cannot interact with each other outside of militarized and highly confrontational environments?

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