Ethnic Group Conflict: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Social perception is powerfully mediated by cultural conformity, especially when it concerns religious beliefs. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates this concept vividly. Both sides harbor antagonistic social perceptions against each other. Only by changing these perceptions can a reconciliation be reached. The opposing views result in a biased lens, which only serves to uphold the traditionally held generalities each culture has of the other. Even though religion is a primary theme in the conflict between these two groups, it may only be the bridge that transcends all the differences of the two ethnic groups. The concept of peace building may help to change perceptions and cultivate positive interactions when it emphasizes…show more content…
These two ethnic group engage in war with each other because of long-held stereotypical beliefs about each other which is the result of a biased perspective. For example, the Israeli people believe that the Palestinians are using peace seeking strategies as a temporary scheme, and that their true objective is to conquer and control Palestine. On the other hand, many of the Palestinians perceive that Israel does not wish to achieve a peaceful resolution with Israeli citizens, but instead desires to remain in control of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It is challenging to understand the precise demands of either side of this conflict because of the differing interpretations and opinions. However, there are many people on each side who disagree with the political issues of these warring groups. Social psychologists Fritz Heider formed the balance theory, in which he states that people look for consistency among their attitudes (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). In other words, a person feels balanced if he or she and a person he or she likes agree on a topic, or if he or she and a person he or she dislikes disagrees on a topic (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). According to Heider (1959), individuals often overrate the positive attributes of those they like and undervalue positive attributes in those they dislike. People also tend to emphasize the negative attributes of those people
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