June 2021 

Mapping Sources of Mutual Distrust in Palestinian and Israeli Societies and Politics: role of education, daily life experiences, and exposure to violence

 Palestinians and Israelis distrust and fear each other. Evidence from joint Palestinian-Israeli survey research indicates that distrust and fear are detrimental to peace-making. It is suspected that school education, daily life experiences-- including economic costs related to the continuation of the status quo-- and exposure to mutual violence are critical sources that contribute to the very high levels of distrust and fear. 

The overall objective of this research is to map out, identify, and explain how and why each of these sources impede the efforts toward a successful peace process and what must be done, by both sides, to dry up or neutralize them. 

Specifically, we seek to:

(1) identify and map out the top three critical socio-political and economic elements the feed existing distrust thereby contributing to widespread misperception, unwillingness to compromise, and a stagnation in the peace process;

(2) empirically demonstrate a direct or indirect relationship between these sources and the high levels of mutual distrust and fear; and,

(3) building on our research findings, as well as experiences of other conflict areas in Europe and other places-- in which critical policy decisions related to school education, daily life experiences, such as movement, access, and economic opportunity, and modes of resistance were made—outline evidence-based policy recommendations that can potentially reduce mutual distrust/fear.


Six research activities have been carried out in our research:

(1) Review selections of textbook material to be used in classroom experiments, the organization of at least a dozen classroom experiments on each side, the Palestinian and the Israeli, involving selected material and students, and the organization of at least a dozen focus groups with each side with teachers and students in various school types, religious, governmental, private, etc.;

(2) two major surveys on each side among representative samples, with added samples for youth, to measure overall public and youth exposure to violence, hardships, as well as personal tragedies and examine the ramifications of the findings with focus groups, particularly the youth;

(3) specially designed survey research experiments and case studies in which respondents under different levels of stress and hardship are observed and interviewed and compared to similar respondents who are exposed to no or less suffering and hardships;

(4) evaluate experiences and review lessons learned from other conflict areas, particularly in Europe through background research and meetings and workshops with experts and historians; 

(5) prepare, publish and disseminate reports of findings of research and recommendations to the public and various beneficiaries, including the publication of proposed textbook material that can be used by both sides to supplement existing textbooks; and

(6) workshops with and briefings for various local and international policy making bodies, particularly among the final beneficiaries.

The following material represent the publications of our joint research.

1) Joint Palestinian-Israeli public opinion polls on trust

 Questionnaire of the first joint poll 

Questionnaire of the second joint poll

Table of findings of the first joint poll

Table of findings of the second joint poll coming soon

Report of findings of the joint polls coming soon


2) Sustainable Peace Education: Report on lessons learned from Europe and elsewhere

This report studies the practice of peace education. It offers an introduction into the way peace education has developed over time and how it is addressed academically. It draws from concrete examples mainly from Europe, while considering lessons from successful experiences for Israel/Palestine.


3) Case Studies

 Impact of Daily Life Hardships on Mutual Trust and Support for Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process: Life in areas adjacent to the separation wall as a case study coming soon

 Impact of Daily Life Hardships on Mutual Trust and Support for Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process: Settlers’ attacks in H-2 areas of Hebron as a case study coming soon

 Impact of Daily Life Hardships on Mutual Trust and Support for Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process: Home demolition and denial of building permits as a case study coming soon


4) Textbook Passages for Sustainable Peace Education:

   Looking at the Other’s Viewpoint: Historical Narratives of Palestinians and Israelis Sustainable Peace Education 

Palestinians and Israelis use their different historical narratives to prove their rights or the basis of their presence in this country. Each party claims that it has proven the truth concerning its connection to this land, the land of historical Palestine. At the same time, this raises controversy and clashes between successive generations on both sides.

  The Oslo Agreement: The Difficult Road to Palestinian-Israeli Peace  Sustainable Peace Education

The peace process faced many obstacles on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Israeli government did not commit to transferring powers in accordance with the deadlines stipulated in the agreement, and continued to sponsor settlement activity in the Palestinian territories. The process also faced strong opposition from internal Palestinian parties, where some expressed their opposition by boycotting elections or refusing to participate in the PA authority. Others carried out bombing attacks against Israeli targets.

  Guidance and Light: The Doctrine of Monotheism in Revealed Religions Brings People Together and does not Divide Them Sustainable Peace Education

The basic idea in the three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is centered on the doctrine of monotheism. This doctrine is derived from our prophet Ibrahim Al–Khalil, father of the prophets. The doctrine of monotheism is based on an established religious belief in one God with no second god and no partner.










This research project is funded by the EU