By Daniela Castillo Esquivel - Student of International Relations

“Peacebuilders could learn a lot from educators on how to change human behavior” (George, 2018, para. 5). Since the 1900s, with the division of British Palestine and the posterior Arab attempt to reunite it, both Palestine and Israel have been in constant conflict for many years. But, beyond the reasons why this conflict started, the most important question is: How to resolve it? In order to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is necessary to acknowledge and learn from the past, reflect on the present, and reshape the conflict for the future. This can only be accomplished through proper education.

A big factor that affects the relationship between Israel and Palestine is linked to history as it involves traditions and establishes strong mindsets, but this cannot be used as an excuse for conflict. “We must actively contribute to removing history as an instrument in fostering conflicts (...), and we must try and use it as a means for creating more common understanding and enhancing conflict prevention” (Tuomioja, 2017, para. 47). It is essential that both Israelites and Palestinians understand the background and context of the conflict itself, this will not only ensure a better comprehension of the past but at the same time will encourage critical thinking in both societies.

“Education can be an important component of fostering positive change in social values, attitudes, and skills that are necessary to overcome the pain of conflict” (Zasloff & Shapiro, 2009, p. 2). Stereotypes, biases, and prejudices are key factors for maintaining a long-term conflict and are responsible for the ongoing promotion and use of violence. The ability to objectively analyze issues not only defeats these predispositions but will also help citizens, mainly young kids, to process their respective traumas from this war and therefore improve the “conditions for future conflict as students enter society as adults” (George, 2018, para. 26).

Arguments can be made of education having a “negative effect on attitudes towards reconciliation” (El-Attar, M., 2009, p. 3), but its long-lasting results and its already seen positive outcomes prove the opposite: Education has been able to make an important contribution to reconciliation, conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, and the rebuilding of war-torn societies, including in Northern Ireland, South Africa, as well as France and Germany after World War II” (Zasloff & Shapiro, 2009, p. 2).

With education, it is easier to recognize the source or center of a problem and therefore predict/redirect the negative outcomes of a conflict. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not close to being solved, nor it will be a simple task, but once both societies and the rest of the world can understand this conflict’s past, analyze its present, and help transform its outcomes, then the conflict will be over. And this can only be done through education. Conflicts, wars, violence, and weapons have existed for a long time and, realistically speaking, will always exist, but as Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.


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  • El-Attar, M. (2009, September). Could education promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice and IZA.
  • George, S. (2018, May 24). Opinion: education as a key to solving conflicts. DEVEX.
  • Tuomioja, E. (2017). History and conflict: how can historians contribute to conflict resolution and conflict prevention. Historians without borders.
  • Zasloff, B., Shapiro, A. & Coyne, H. (2009, August). An education track for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. United States Institute of Peace. Taken from: