Exploring Principles of Conflict Resolution with Israeli Leaders, 3rd December 2019

On the 3rd December 2019, Forward Thinking facilitated a second workshop in Tel Aviv with the aim of exploring the principles of conflict resolution with diverse political leaders. Discussions focussed on identifying the historical challenges in promoting a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and began exploring the ways in which they could be overcome. Participants identified the need for bold political leadership, the need to overcome internal Israeli divisions and the need to bring in the extremes, on all sides of the conflict, so they are seen as part of the solution and not a problem to be managed. Gaps inknowledge and skills were also identified, which if addressed, could help to encourage people in their constituencies to be more proactive in developing mechanisms and forums of putting ‘conflict resolution’ back on the table. Moving forward the initiative will seek to find ways of narrowing these gaps and empower leaders to engage with their constituencies on resolving the conflict in a way that resonates more effectively.

Participants included a Member of the Knesset, prominent religious leaders, activists and political advisors. They represented diverse Israeli constituencies including the Ultra-Orthodox, Russian speaking, Arab-Israeli and secular. Despite differences, each echoed a shared commitment to promoting pathways towards ending violence in the region. Tim O’Connor, the Irish Government’s Chief Negotiator for The Good Friday Agreement, was also invited to attend the workshop via video link, Tim provided his own unique insights to some of the challenges to the peace process in Northern Ireland, and highlighted that in times of conflict the status quo “is always king” until events inevitably shift and when they do the necessity to be ready to capitalise when the situation changes.