David Kreider, Inter-Cultural Dynamics in Peacemaking: The Arab-Israeli Case in Point, Practice: Skills for Conflict Transformation, (2007)
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In this essay, David Kreider (not to be confused with international arbitrator David L. Kreider, whom we previously and erroneously attributed to this post) offers an analysis of the role of mediators and different mediation styles and applies his findings to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Drawing upon the work of many scholars who have written about mediation, conflict, and Israel-Palestine, Mr. Kreider compares and contrasts a Western, individualist approach to conflict with a non-Western, collectivist approach. Using scholar Walter Wright’s definitions of “individualist” and “collectivist,” Mr. Kreider writes, “Individualists tend to place a higher value on the preferences, needs, rights, freedoms, opportunities, and goals of the individual, and in the process, relationships are often relegated to a secondary consideration. Collectivists, on the other hand, place a premium on the interests, norms, and values of the group and on maintaining relationships of respect, cooperation, and harmony within the community often at the expense of individual liberties, needs, and interests.” A key difference described by Mr. Kreider between the two approaches is that individualists tend to view conflict as necessary for change, while collectivists most often view conflict as a failure to respect the traditions and values of a group. Another key difference described by Mr. Kreider is that during conflict, individualists tend to favor direct communication and confrontation, while collectivists tend to be less direct about the problems causing the conflict and more focused on maintaining relationships, harmony, and interdependence.