Introduction to Analysis
This research study evaluated the responses of young adults upon engagement with the “Dialogue Encounters” of the PCFF. At the ‘dialogue encounter’ lectures, an Israeli and a Palestinian share their experience of bereavement and develop the theme of reconciliation with regards to furthering Israeli and Palestinian relations. The research and fieldwork was carried out from January- December 2009. This initial analysis examines the feedback from 100 young adults age 16-18 from the areas, Gedera, Ra'anana, Beit Gubrin, Ha Rishonim Herziliya and Rishon Litzion.
Analysis 1 – This analysis asked three questions of the 100 participants; (See Graph 1 below).
Q1. Following the meeting, do you believe there is a partner for dialogue? Overall, 78% of students believed that there was a partner for dialogue within this conflict. Only 11% answered negatively that there was no partner for dialogue. A further 11% of students did not respond to the question.
Q2. Following the meeting, do you find the notion of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestininas possible? The analysis concluded that 72% of students found the notion of reconciliation possible between Israelis and Palestinians. A further 14% responded neutrally, arguing that reconciliation was possible, however, there were violent groups and political parties on both sides which stood in the way of the reconciliation process. There were no negative responses, whilst, the data suggested that 14% did not respond to the question.
Q3. Following the meeting, are you interested in meeting Palestinians your age? The data suggested that 78% of students did want to go on to meet with a Palestinian of a similar age. Only 6% of students did not want to meet with a Palestinian of a similar age. With 16% of students not responding to the question.
Displayed within graph 2 (see below), the analysis brings together an evaluation of the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ responses from the three analysis sections for the whole study. The thematic origin of these categories developed the following percentage responses;
Theme 1 – Questions in this area were thematically grouped around the positive and negative responses of feelings and opinions in relation to the engagement with the Dialogue Encounter with the PCFF. The results show that 95% responded positively to the encounter. Whereas. Only 5% responded negatively.
Theme 2 – Questions were arranged around two themes which asked whether the meeting reflected the reality of the conflict and reconciliation. Secondly, the questions asked if the point of view of the other was understood within the conflict. The overall response to these themes suggests that, 91% of students agreed that the, dialogue encounters reflected a reality of the conflict and the possibility of reconciliation, this was helped by understanding the perspectives of the Palestinian speakers. Only 9% of students answered negatively to the themes addressed.
Theme 3 – Questions formatted in this analysis, asked if the candidates wanted to become personally more involved in resolving the conflict and if they wanted to deepen their understanding of joint Israeli-Palestinian activities for peace and reconciliation? Results show that 85% of students wanted to engage positively in resolving the conflict and learning more about the activities for reconciliation with the PCFF. Results in the negative range to this theme generated 15% negative responses.
Overall Response - The PCFF over the year can engage with 20,000-30,000 youths in ‘dialogue Encounters,’ which demonstrates the scale of the operation to educate for peace and reconciliation. This pilot study has engaged with 100 participants who have responded positively in 89% of cases across the various themes and questions. This is in comparison to generating only 11% of negative responses. It would be fair to conclude in this research and analysis that the ‘Dialogue Encounters’ are having a positive impact. It allows young adults to understand the effects of bereavement as an extension of the violent conflict. The dialogue encounters also offer a window into the very real possibility of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. More importantly, the dialogue encounters provide the foundation for young adults to continue exploring the issue of reconciliation through joint cooperation. Clearly, those members of the PCFF engaged in this form of peace education positively assist and enhance the approach to reconciliation.
The evaluation and fieldwork was carried out by Bill Thomson, from the School of International Relations, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, UK. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This research would not have been possible without the help of the PCFF . The full research study of the PCFF shall be completed by July 2010.
Picture: PCFF members and lecturers; Yaakov Guterman and Issam El Bau, with high school students from Emek Hefer, after a dialogue encounter.