Reconciliation is the process of building trust through creating new positive collective memories and overcoming past traumas. A conflict does not end when the violence stops, this begins a long process called reconciliation that begins with moving from a Hot War or a state of open violent conflict to a Cold War which is a state where there is no longer open violent conflict, but where there is still a fear that the violence may return. We will describe reconciliation as proceeding in three distinct stages one after another, these stages will be described as Cold War, Cold Peace, and finally, hopefully, Warm Peace.

During the Cold War stage, both groups will operate under what is called ‘working trust’ where they trust that it is in the other side’s interest to avoid returning to violence but still do not believe that the other side has their best interest in mind. Thus this is a stage where trust is conditional and must be regularly verified to continue.

During the Cold War stage, both sides must be exposed to each other’s narrative to begin to at least become familiar with each side’s perspective on the conflict. At this point, it will be important to have some kind of mediator or government organization to help facilitate this. 

At this point, both sides will still perceive themselves as righteous victims with each side holding onto their own ‘chosen traumas’ and ‘chosen glories’ which are the selected series of events and their interpretations that each side chooses to tell its narrative.  The ‘chosen traumas’ refer to events in a group’s history in which they have suffered catastrophic loss, humiliation, and helplessness at the hands of an enemy. Whereas ‘chosen glories’ are triumphs against a formidable and deserving adversary.

As the groups in conflict move from the initial stage of the Cold War to the next stage, Cold Peace, they will begin to challenge their perspectives of the past conflict and events and start to develop a ‘knowledge-based

trust’ which is a trust is based on “confident knowledge about the others, including their motives, abilities and reliability”. This is where each side will start to see the perspective of the other side and see how not all of the actions taken by their side were correct and not all of the actions of the other were incorrect. This is where the sides will begin to form a Shared Collective memory. 

Building a Shared Collective Memory is not about forgetting or neglecting experienced atrocities, but about including them in a shared narrative. This will require groups to acknowledge responsibility for their transgressions and to move past the stage of victimization and blame. A Shared Collective Memory represents the groups’ joint history of suffering through the conflict and their joint desire for a peaceable future. 

In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict building this ‘knowledge-based trust’ will require both sides to acknowledge the various wrongdoings that they have done to one another throughout the conflict and make some genuine efforts to make amends. They will have to not only develop the level of trust needed to apologize to one another but also to be vulnerable enough to forgive the other for the wrongs done to them. They will also each have to acknowledge the suffering that the other side has faced over the years and recognize the rights of the other to live in the land of Israel-Palestine and have a haven and self-determination there. 

Several pitfalls should be avoided as this path progresses. These include the idea of ‘competitive victimhood’, where each side will try to see themselves as the bigger victim and reduce the likelihood of each side wanting to acknowledge their wrongdoings in the conflict. Similarly, there is ‘winners justice’ which is a narrative usually promoted by outsiders declaring one side the ‘winner’ of the peaceful resolution and therefore trying to justify one side of the conflict over the other. 

The final stage of reconciliation we will describe is Warm Peace. We envision that it will take a long time to be achieved. Moving into Warm Peace, groups no longer perceive each other to be a threat in the foreseeable future, and are confident of a peaceful resolution of all differences. This stage does not describe a utopia as tensions may still exist. However, there should be a shared agreement that these tensions will be addressed peacefully and democratically.

In the Warm Peace stage we will be moving towards a Shared Collective Memory, this holds the potential to further unite groups as partners. While the more cognitively driven ‘knowledge-based trust’ fostered through the second stage of Cold Peace supports the alteration of collective memory, we suggest that an ‘identity-based trust’ starts to develop at this stage, which is more affective and emotional. This is needed to move toward a Shared Collective Memory, as it impacts the self-perception and the identity of the ingroup.

‘Identity-based trust’ moves beyond knowledge of the motives and the abilities of the outgroup, to the perception that both groups identify with each other’s needs and values. This deeper trust enables groups to build a Shared Collective Memory that represents their narrative in a mutually acceptable way. The stage of Warm Peace is marked by the internalization of the new relationship and its integration into each group’s Identity.

In the context of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict building ‘identity-based trust’ will require fully accepting each other as legitimate inhabitants of the land and as partners in building a shared future together. This will come over time as a result of living together in a cooperative arrangement and building new positive memories of working together. It can also be positively influenced by both sides accepting one another as fellow Natives of the Land, which we describe in the section on Mutual Recognition of Historic Connection.

One of the pitfalls to avoid at this final stage is called ‘apology fatigue’. Apology fatigue refers to one group’s sense that they have apologized enough, linked to a feeling that there is “never enough”, and that the other group will never be satisfied with apologies uttered by the ingroup. Thus, apology fatigue may draw groups back into a new collective victimhood, not based on the victimization that occurred in the actual conflict, but on victimization that has appeared during the conflict transformation process where they were forced to apologize over and over and they feel that these apologies were never really accepted. Therefore, both groups not only need to be ready to apologize in the process of reconciliation but for what in fact may be the even more difficult task, the willingness to forgive. 

Fig. 34

Trust-based reconciliation model for Shared Collective Memory – Linear presentation
Kappmeier, M., & Mercy, A. (2019). The Long Road From Cold War to Warm Peace: Building Shared Collective Memory Through Trust. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 7(1), 525-555.

  • The Union will establish a Federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission which will organize media and workshops in communities and educational institutions that will promote the understanding of the narratives of the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab peoples to each other. This Commission will work to help build a Shared Collective Memory about the conflict and promote mutual understanding and peace. 
  • The Israelis and Palestinians will each recognize their part in the Jewish-Arab conflict from 1920-1948. As well they must take responsibility for all mistreatment and violence carried out by their side towards the other during the entire history of the conflict from the 1920s until the current day. 
  • The Israelis will acknowledge their part in the Palestinian exodus of 1948 and will provide just financial compensation to the families of the Palestinians who lost property in those events. In cases where it is possible to return the property to the original families which can be done in lieu of monetary compensation. 
  • The Palestinians will acknowledge their part in the attacks against the Jewish communities in events including the riots of 1929 in Hebron, Safed and Jerusalem and will provide reasonable compensation to the families who lost property in those events. In cases where it is possible to return the property to the original families that can be done in lieu of monetary compensation.
  • The Palestinians will acknowledge the suffering that the Jewish people have endured over the centuries in many countries and accept the necessity that the Jewish people require a safe haven in Israel-Palestine and that they have a right to self-determination and to rule themselves with their own institutions. 
  • The Israelis will acknowledge the suffering that the Palestinian people have endured over the last century and accept the necessity that the Palestinian people require a safe haven in Israel-Palestine and that they have a right to self-determination and to rule themselves with their own institutions. 
  • The Union will criminalize purposeful acts of violence against civilians and any citizen of the Union or lawful resident therein. Acts of violence against either military before the 5-year interim agreement immediately preceding the formation of the Union will be pardoned, as long as these acts were under the laws of war and did not constitute a war crime.