From Sulha to Salaam: Connecting local knowledge with international negotiations for lasting peace in Palestine/Israel

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Abstract

In this article, we survey conflict resolution in the Arab world and then turn to sulha, a Palestinian peacemaking process, for an in-depth analysis to distill lessons for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. We identify key features of the community-based practice of sulha that could be invoked at the international level: restoration of honor and dignity, reconciliation in the wider community, and public demarcation of the end of violence. Our argument is that culture is crucial in fostering mutual understanding in conflict resolution, and that ensuring the basic human right to dignity should be an essential component of international third-party interventions. Sulha is promoted as a technique for addressing the right to dignity within contentious multiparty discourse through the tactic of education and community exposure at both the local and international levels. We conclude that reembedding the essence of dignity and honor expression at the community level is a critical component of sustainable nonviolent coexistence sought through international relations.

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