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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: July 2009

12 - Conclusions and Implications

Summary

This book has demonstrated the unequivocal and essential influence of the context of intergroup relations on the psychological intergroup repertoire that a society in conflict holds about its rival group. Indeed, the main thesis of the book is that the intractable conflict between Israelis and Arabs has strongly marked the way Jews perceive and relate to Arabs. This happened because of the very powerfully negative experiences that characterize intractable conflict. As a result, the societies involved in the intractable conflict – in our case, the Israeli Jews – blame the other side for the outbreak of the conflict, for its continuance, and for the violence. They do so by attributing very negative dispositions to the other side(s), even using coarsely delegitimizing labels and concepts.

This book focused on the Jewish side, but there is firm evidence for suggesting that representations of Arabs by Israeli Jews are a mirror image of those held by Arabs to represent Israeli Jews (see, e.g., Abdolrazeq, 2002; Bar-Tal, 1988; Bar-Tal & Oren, 2003; Heradstveit, 1981; Kelman, 1999a). Moreover, the case of the Israeli Jews is assumed to be representative of a rival in societies engaged in intractable conflict. Therefore, our main proposition is as follows. Societies that are engaged in intractable conflict may differ in their specific content of negative stereotypes and/or emotions they experience toward the rival. However, the shared negative psychological intergroup repertoire about their rival(s) follows a similar developmental trajectory, is extensively disseminated, and is widely used by society members.

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