The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, and no final peace agreement has been reached despite numerous attempts over almost 75 years. On the International Day of Peace, it is reasonable to discuss the concept of peace and the prospects of achieving peace in Israel and Palestine. Thousands of deaths and daily deprivation of fundamental human rights lasting for decades have to end. The UN and other organizations, promoting peace and security for all, encourage the whole world to stand in solidarity with people who suffer from violence.
The 21st of September is the International Day of Peace (“Peace Day”) established in 1981 by the United Nations. It is a good opportunity for everyone to know more about the ongoing conflicts and show their solidarity with people who suffer from violence. Peace Day provides a globally shared event to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.
What does the word PEACE mean?
Before talking about peace it is important to understand what peace actually is. Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist who is considered the founder of Peace Studies, redefined the terms peace and introduced a theoretical framework for achieving peace. According to his theory, if peace is defined as a mere absence of violence, it appears to be limited. In other words, it is not used to its full potential. Therefore, Galtung offers a dual definition: negative and positive peace.
Negative peace is explained as the absence of violence, while positive peace is defined as the integration of human society, including the recovery process of economic, social, and cultural dimensions. The scholar explains that deepening the definition of peace ultimately results in the notion of general and absolute peace.
Regarding the conflict in Israel and Palestine, it would be brave to claim that there is at least a negative peace due to the regularity of violent military actions. The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, and no final peace agreement has been reached despite numerous attempts over almost 75 years. The conflict caused thousands of deaths, most of them have been Palestinian.
Prospects of Peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict
The Palestinian population faces terrible socio-economic and humanitarian conditions, on a daily basis, due to deprivation of their fundamental rights and displacement from their homes by Israeli forces. The vast majority of Palestinians have been internally displaced, and some refugees live in camps predominantly in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Unfortunately, conflicts of that type and length do not get solved quickly, and there is little hope that people will find peace in the near future.
Together with the UN initiative for the International Day of Peace, the World Council of Churches encourages people and churches all around the globe to advocate, pray and stand in solidarity with people suffering from conflict for generations. This is part of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which is going to take place from 15th to 22nd of September 2022.