The Missing Peace. Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in the Middle East

Led by Hilde Henriksen Waage
Jan 2004 - Dec 2007

Why is there no peace between Israel and the Palestinians? What are the conditions for a solution that can be tolerated by both? What are the conflict's fundamental causes?

The principal objective of the project is to explore the complex obstacles to peace in the Middle East, by analysing the Israel-Palestinian conflict on the national, regional and international levels.

The project will also expand PRIO’s interdisciplinary competence on the Middle East. The SIP will:

  • strengthen the synergy between academic research and the more operational/field activities in conflict resolution and peacebuilding at PRIO;
  • build an important bridge to the Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO’s new Centre of Excellence;
  • through doctoral supervision and project team members from UiO and UiB, better integrate Norway’s small and fragmented research milieu on the Middle East conflict.

Project Description

Why is there no peace between Israel and the Palestinians? What are the conditions for a solution that can be tolerated by both? What are the conflict’s fundamental causes? We investigate these questions via interrelated subprojects, focusing on the international, regional and national levels. Topics include:

  • the repeated mediation attempts by the UN and the USA since 1948, and why they failed
  • institutional forms of Great Power interventions since the Ottoman Empire, and the patterns of intervention and war
  • shi’a religious networks, and their political-organizational links with Hamas
  • the evolving and varied ideologies of Sunni groups and their Palestinian counterparts and the possibility of compromise in jihad
  • the (lack of) institutional development in the Palestinian areas, suicide bombings and the Jewish settler movement as obstacles to peace.

Trained in the history, political science, religion and law, SIP researchers will compare and integrate conflict-resolution theories, analytic methods and empirical findings. PRIO’s solid area expertise will be complemented with participation by other Norwegian and international scholars.


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Waage, Hilde Henriksen (2005) Norway’s Role in the Middle East Peace Talks: Between a Small State and a Weak Belligerent, Journal of Palestine Studies 34(4): 6–24.
Røislien, Hanne Eggen (2005) For Gud, stat og fedreland. Bosetterne på Vestbredden og i Øst-Jerusalem [For God, State and Fatherland. Settlers in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem], Internasjonal Politikk 5: 517–535.


Røislien, Hanne Eggen (2006) Bosettere på hellig grunn: En reise blant jødiske nybyggere [On Holy Ground: A Journey Among the Jewish Settlers of the Middle East]. Oslo.

Popular Article

Tiller, Stian Johansen (2009) Fanget av opinionen [Caught by the Public Opinion], Ny Tid, 21 August.
Strand, Trude (2005) Ny kurs for palestinerne i Gaza? [New Course for the Palestinians in Gaza?], VG, 22 August.

PRIO Report

Tønnesson, Stein; Øystein Noreng; Are Hovdenak; & Hilde Henriksen Waage (2005) Regime Stability in the Middle East, PRIO Report, 3. Oslo: PRIO.