The role of victim beliefs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Risk or potential for peace?

  • Vollhardt J
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This article discusses the role of victim beliefs in intergroup relations, as well as characteristics of victim beliefs and the processes by which they instigate and sustain violence, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This article then argues that victim beliefs do not inevitably contribute to violence. Instead, victim beliefs that recognize similarities of experiences between victim groups may give rise to empathy and prosocial behavior toward outgroups, even toward the other party in the conflict. Finally, this article reviews case studies and interventions that support this view and discusses underlying social psychological processes and conditions that limit or enhance constructive, inclusive victim beliefs and their potential to improve intergroup relations throughout the world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

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