Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Professors Discuss Conflict Dynamics in Israel, Palestine

In June, negotiation and conflict resolution professors Dr. Peter T. Coleman and Naira Musallam spoke on Columbia University's radio station WKCR about conflict dynamics in Israel, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria.

"The problem starts with the term itself, the Middle East," says Musallam. "It's a collection of ethnicities, countries, histories that are vast. The differences are really vast."

She says, "I think the problem starts with the simplicity of thinking about the problem. I think complexity science actually invites us to understand the nuances of the nations of the countries before we even start to address the solutions."

She says of the Israel/Palestine conflict, "This is just another episode...The question is, is there something different that we can do [to solve] this?"

Says Coleman, "The stability of the conflict has a decades-long history, and so it becomes extremely resistant to change. So you can change policies, leaders, all kinds of changes, but the conflict stays stable."

Musallam says, "I have a theory that we haven't made the idea of peace to be attractive enough. At the end of the day, people are not politicians….But people do want to live peacefully side-by-side. So it invites the international community to think a bit differently, think about ways of intervening that make that more attractive."

Listen to the other shows in this series, Peace and Conflict at Columbia: Conversations from the Leading-Edge, over at WKCR.