The other side of the fence: comparing perceptions of structures separting warring groups in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine

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This thesis aimed to investigate the perceptions of Northern Irish Loyalists and Republicans towards the Peace Lines and of Israelis and Palestinians towards the West Bank Barrier. Potential similarities and differences across the two conflicts were assessed based on previous literature. N = 95 individuals (48 female, 47 male; average age M = 37.58) participated in an online survey containing mostly fixed-response questions with answer options arranged along a Likert scale. It was hypothesised that the perceptions of Loyalists and Israelis and those of Republicans and Palestinians are comparable (H1); that the perceptions of these two pairs differ significantly from each other (H2); and that Loyalists identify with Israelis, Republicans with Palestinians, and vice versa (H3). Data for the entire sample showed partial support for H1 and H2. Data for a sample consisting of individuals who identified particularly strongly with their own group (N = 66) lent some support to all three hypotheses. Implications of the findings include the importance of considering people’s subjective and divergent perceptions of separating structures both in research and in practical applications, the promise of cross-community reconciliation programmes, and the potential for using such projects in Israel/Palestine modelled on successful ones in Northern Ireland.
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