Israel’s latest war against Gaza has brought renewed and unprecedented suffering to the Palestinian population. Most of the 2,100 Palestinians who were killed were civilians. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed along with much of the civilian infrastructure. This is the third time Israel and Hamas are locked in violent conflict in six years, and it is clear that these outbursts of violence do not produce any winners or a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Only new political strategies and initiatives can prevent more human suffering in the near future. But is this reflected in the political thinking on either side? How has the war influenced public opinion about the conflict on both sides? What policy options exist for the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships? What are the viable alternatives?


11:00 Welcome and introduction Jacob Høigilt (Senior Researcher, PRIO)

11:15 Can the destructive consequences of the Gaza War on Palestinian-Israeli relations be reversed? Dr. Khalil Shikaki (Director, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research – Ramallah) and Professor Tamar Hermann (Senior Fellow, the Israel Democracy Institute)

12:15 Lunch break

12:35 Discussion, questions and comments

Chair: Jacob Høigilt (PRIO)

Discussants' Bio:

Dr. Khalil Shikaki is director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (Ramallah). He is also a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He finished his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1985, and taught at several Palestinian and American universities. Since 1993, Dr. Shikaki has conducted more than 200 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. His research has focused on Palestinian state building, public opinion, transition to democracy, and the impact of domestic Palestinian politics on the peace process.

He is the co-author of Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and Peacemaking in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Other recent books include Public Opinion in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Public Imperative During the Second Intifada, with Yaacov Shamir, Indiana University Press, 2010. Other publications include "Stabilizing Gaza-Israel Relations: What Would It Take?" Middle East Brief 83, August 2014, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University, with Shai Feldman; "Managing Refugee Expectations," in Rex Brynen and Roula El-Rifai (eds.) The Palestinian Refugee Problem: the Search for a Resolution (London: Pluto Press, 2014); "The Future of Israel-Palestine: a One-State Reality in the Making," NOREF Report, May 2012; "Coping with the Arab Spring; Palestinian Domestic and Regional Ramifications, " Middle East Brief, no. 58, Crown Center for Middle East Policy, Brandeis University, December 2011.

Prof. Tamar S. Hermann is Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and faculty member of the Political Science Department of the Open University of Israel. A political scientist specializing in public opinion-making and its measurement, she is the academic director of IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys and heads IDI's Political Reform Project with Dr. Arye Carmon. Prof. Hermann also stands at the helm of IDI's 'Renewing the Israeli Social Contract' project and is the co-editor of The Peace Index, a joint project of IDI and Tel Aviv University that monitors Israeli public opinion about the Arab-Israeli conflict through monthly surveys. She has had fellowships at several US and UK universities, including Princeton and Queen's University, Belfast. Her latest book, The Israeli Peace Movement - A Shattered Dream, was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

This event is organized by PRIO and NOREF, in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies (NCHS) .