April 18, 2015
Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking
"How is it that every Jewish prayer ends with the word peace and every Muslim prayer ends with the word peace and we are killing each other?" asked Sheikh Abdul Jalil Sajid, the imam of Brighton, England” (Ben-Simon, n.d.). The quoted “we are killing each other” (Ben-Simon, n.d.) speaks to the ever present on going Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The “how is it that every Jewish prayer ends with the word peace and every Muslim prayer ends with the word peace” (Ben-Simon, n.d.) seems to note the similarities that could be used to bring about peace.
Rabbis and Imam Unite for Peace conference was just part of a campaign to promote peace sponsored by Hommes de Parole. Hommes de Parole is a Swiss organization, “the foundation is independent, belongs to no religious, political, philosophical, ideological or economic movement of structure” (Hommes de Parole, 2001). Their chief mission is to facilitate meetings between those that would not ordinarily meet. The Foundation for P.E.A.C.E a nonprofit organization promoted this meeting on their website. “The Foundation for P.E.A.C.E. was founded in 1979 to promote community and international peace by helping people find personal peace; share their views of world peace and how to achieve it; and promote peace at community levels” (Ben-Simon, n.d.). The foundation uses the word peace; P.E.A.C.E. as an acronym for Peaceful Environment Among Communities Everywhere.
This particular conference attended by rabbi, imams, and some Christian clerics basically as a starting point for conflict resolution. The conference unfortunately and unplanned timing wise, took place on the heels of a disastrous tsunami that caused one imam to cancel his attendance due to devastation in his home country. Three moments of silence and prayer for the victims was observed. It was during these moments that the attendees began to notice they had something in common other than religious differences. Soon the different religious leaders began to converse with one another even sharing meals and praise for the faiths of each other.
The conflicts between Israel and Palestine have been ongoing on for decades with tensions and hostilities continuing into the present day with seemingly no foreseeable end. Conflict between nations takes place for a variety of reasons but mainly because both sides perceive some unjustness committed by the other side against them. Conflict as defined by Myers (2010) is “a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals” (p. 485). In a conflict the two sides see the wrongs of the other side while being blinded to their on transgressions. There is always the we are right or moral and they are the evil and wrong ones. Even though both profess to want to achieve peace neither wants to make the necessary commitments to achieve it. However, there must exist strategies that will bring this long standing conflict to a peaceful end. “Social psychologists have focused on four strategies for helping enemies become comrades” (Myers, 2010, p. 499). These strategies are known as the four Cs.
Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking
Perhaps the Hommes de Parole had the correct idea when they got the opposing religious clerics together by sponsoring a conference. “In 94 percent of studies, increased contact predicted decreased prejudice” (Myers, 2010, pp. 499& 500). This idea was especially event during the conference. In the beginning stage of the event rabbis and imams were separate. “At first, they ate at separate tables - Jews here, Muslims there, eying each other suspiciously” (Ben-Simon, n.d). After observing silence the delegates began to realize they had much in common so they moved closer together taking their meals at the same tables. By the time the conference ended they could be seen taking picture together.