Cognitive reconciliation in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, individual lives, and Musalaha: What six stories tell

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The concept of reconciliation seems to have been largely abandoned in research. This master’s thesis examines whether the concept is still valuable. The extent to which individuals are drawn to the cognitive feature of reconciliation, which can be called ‘cognitive reconciliation,’ is explored in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, those individuals living their lives in an ongoing conflict setting, and their participating in activities of reconciliation organization Musalaha, among which specifically the Young Adult Training. Thematic life stories of six research participants, based on a narrative research approach in general and life story interviews in particular, are presented, next to overviews with findings regarding cognitive reconciliation. All research participants were drawn to cognitive reconciliation to a certain extent, in spite of difficult circumstances and adverse forces like perceived threats and (strong) identification with and support for one’s own side. Continued involvement with the other side in the conflict and a supporting framework appear to be counterforces that are important for cognitive reconciliation. Musalaha shows to provide such a framework, a viable one also, of which the Young Adult Training is only one part. Key words: cognitive reconciliation, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Musalaha, Young Adult Training, individuals
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