This is what I was obsessed with for almost 5 years before I switched to digital marketing communications…To make a long story short, I was interested in the concept of “taking the perspective of the other”. With never-ending support and supervision from Dr. Sandra Jovchelovitch, I wanted to understand how and why, growing in a complex place like Israel, into a conflictual reality, hinder children’s ability to put themselves in the place of their “enemy”.
• The aim of this study was to investigate, in depth, the psychological barriers that hinder the ability of Israeli children to take the perspective of Palestinian children, or, put differently, to comprehend the Palestinian narrative of the conflict.
• This study has shown that for Israeli children, the ability to construct the Palestinian viewpoint is constrained by the boundaries of the Israeli narrative and discourse in relation to the conflict, and the dynamics of knowledge, affect and practices that maintain them.
• Using children’s drawings and compositions, the revealed picture is that of a bipolar approach and contradictions regarding the key objects of the conflict, that although seem irreconcilable, are nonetheless intertwined to represent the ambivalence, bewilderment and moral contradictions Israeli society is trapped in regarding the conflict.
• For the Israeli children, the Palestinians are an imminent threat at the same time that they deserve our compassion. They have the right for land and self-determination, but they want to kill us all. They are victims under an occupation regime but also brutal terrorists disregarding their own lives. They are both savage and righteous and we are both victims and brutal occupiers. We are both aware of the pain we inflict on them at the same time that we are blinded by the suffering they inflict on us. We know that all people are equal but still strongly feel that we are the ‘chosen people’ and they are inferiors. We are morally and militarily superior at the same time that we are weak and vulnerable. We hate the Palestinians but we also pity them.
• Within this ambivalence I find hope. The conclusion that we must draw from these ambiguous, bewildered and ambivalent depictions of self, other and the conflict, is that we have to find creative ideas for interventions in order to weaken the voices of negation, fear and dehumanisation, and strengthen and reinforce self-reflection and the voices of mutual respect and recognition.