Roles, expectations, segregation and Israel/Palestine

A December 2010 Time magazine article used role language and other SRV-consistent language to describe the negative long-term effects of the physical and social separation between Israelis and Palestinians brought about by the ‘Wall’: a 400 mile system of fences, barricades and military checkpoints. (I understand that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a long-term development with roots in war, politics, religion, history, language, culture and so on. I am only pointing out a few basic SRV-relevant points which I took from reading the article, particularly as I was struck by the role language used.)

• Consider how mind-sets and expectancies are shaped, particularly by powerful, early and consistent experiences. The following quote concerns a young Palestinian schoolboy, Ramzi, recalling his first encounter with an Israeli soldier: “Ramzi took what he could from the encounter–the soldier was brusque and belligerent, he recalls–and remained alert for further information” (p. 50). Note Ramzi’s alertness for further information: how much we learn consciously and unconsciously from our interactions, image messages, settings we are in, and so on. And a related quote: “The young soldiers … afforded a viewing opportunity for young Palestinians who would henceforth know Israelis only as soldiers and settlers, the newly installed Wall having barred exposure to any other kind” (p. 50). What can this help us learn about physical and social separation; about distantiation brought about by physical or social barriers, or by particular (devalued) roles? Where do we see similar patterns in human services? “Whatever lies behind (the Wall)–enemy, oppressor, kindly cashier–is largely a matter of speculation to those born … between … 1993 … and … 2000” (p. 51).

• Mindsets and expectancies: “No less important, (the Wall) has created a separation of the mind. Israelis say they simply think much less about Palestinians. And a generation of Palestinians is coming of age without even knowing what Israelis look like” (p. 51).

• Interpersonal identification: “The absence of familiarity, names, basic knowing–the absence of the foundations of empathy–does not bode well for the chances of the two peoples one day living as neighbors in peace” (p. 51).

Posted on December 28, 2010 at 8:08 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
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