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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 180-191

Empirical criteria for reconciliation in practice

professor of psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel., Israel

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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This article illustrates the opinion that a bottom-up reconciliation requires, in addition to a top-down legal and political agreement between the parties, a complementary educational and social-psychological process. After an intractable conflict such a process will help the people involved to work through and let go of hatred, the desire for revenge, the mistrust, and the pain that were imprinted as a result of the conflict. A successful synchronisation of these two processes could diminish the danger of a renewed outburst of violence. The article discusses experience with the TRT (To Reflect and Trust) group, which has brought together Jewish descendants of Holocaust survivors and German descendants of Nazi perpetrators over the past thirteen years. Lessons learned from these experiences are applied to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the course of this discussion, the concept of reconciliation is critically examined. Several empirical criteria are suggested to study reconciliation in practice.

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