The power of people-to-people programs as conflict resolution tools is clear: less fear, hatred and violence, increased economic growth, and greater understanding of the other, as well as the stake each party has in a shared future.
Despite wide awareness of the efficacy of such tools, they have too rarely been harnessed at a significant scale in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We can see the consequences all around us. Support for a two-state solution has dropped significantly, while support for violence or zero-sum agendas denying the legitimacy of the other has increased.
Today, over 60% of both young Palestinians and Israelis believe the ultimate intent of the other is the removal of their rights or the destruction of their society. Polling consistently demonstrates that both trends are most pronounced among Israelis and Palestinians under the age of 30, the cohort least likely to have had any meaningful engagement with the other.
Thanks to successive academic studies, we know that these programs work. People-to-people peacebuilding programs have been shown to disrupt and reverse many of these attitudes and beliefs that fuel the conflict. We know that they transform the course of individuals’ lives, yet we have never funded them at the level where they can transform communities, or entire societies.
Read our 2021 Annual Report