Whether it’s Israel/Palestine or Red vs. Blue, understanding why “I would be fighting me, too!” is only the second step toward lasting peace.
Politicians and diplomats who try to resolve conflicts usually focus their efforts on achieving a pragmatic exchange of benefits between the warring parties. They aim for a compromise on the tangible issues in dispute, whether territory or resources or political power. Such a straightforward, pragmatic approach to conflict resolution is understandable, but it often fails because deeper levels of the conflict—psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions—are ignored or downplayed.
At the same time, many peace movements attempting to transform violent conflicts into constructive partnerships also fail in their efforts because they focus most of their energy and rhetoric on protesting against injustices or abuses of power. This “prophetic” stance of decrying misguided policies is a natural and even necessary approach to peacemaking—but it is far from sufficient to shift the underlying dynamics in long-standing conflicts.
A more holistic approach to peacebuilding, one that takes more time but holds more promise for ultimate success, addresses the four dimensions simultaneousl …