An Easy Coalition: The Peacecamp Identity and Israeli-Palestinian Track Two Diplomacy

David Kellen*, Zvi Bekerman, Ifat Maoz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study presents a systematic transcript-based analysis of the dialogue occurring in a track two workshop attended by Jewish-Israelis and Palestinians. We hypothesized that participants from conflicting groups would form a shared superordinate identity in the course of the workshop. Our findings confirmed this hypothesis. Consistent with self-categorization theory, we demonstrate that the observed Jewish-Israelis and Palestinians mutually identified with the peacecamp, a collection of people and organizations that promote dialogue and conflict resolution efforts. In line with our expectations, and in contradiction to previous findings concerning communication between groups in conflict, participants demonstrated patterns of cooperative, counter-ethnocentric interaction. Through the paradigm of social identity theory, we explain these phenomena as the result of the participants' salient superordinate peacecamp identity. The study's findings offer an innovative theoretical contribution to the common ingroup identity model, showing that the reduction of intergroup bias can actually hinder the effectiveness of conflict resolution efforts. Specifically, by forming a superordinate identity, the observed participants are left less able to represents the needs, demands, and claims of their respective national groups and, hence, less able to produce ideas acceptable to their respective publics. The study also offers a practical contribution to the field of track two diplomacy, empirically verifying Hebert Kelman's assertion that when facilitators allow participants to form a cohesive group, they risk damaging both the quality of the workshop's ideas and the participants' ability to influence their leaderships (Rouhana and Kelman 1994; Kelman 1999, 2002).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)543-569
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Track two diplomacy
  • dialogue
  • interactive problem solving
  • peacecamp


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