With anger , I read the newspaper about the fights and cruel massacres between Israel and Palestina.This war is now going for years and each incident provokes another one : one death leads to another and the cycle of revenge  and violence starts.

Stop violence

I’ve noticed in the past violent actions for different reasons( sportgames, demonstrations , but most of them has been stopped rather fast by agreements, dialogue, respect and mutual understanding.


But in the Israeli-Palestinia conflict, it seems like the situation is never ending:a kidnapping in Gaza provokes a attack of Israel, which provokes a missile attack from Palestina , which provokes a invasion in Gaza , which…….

.When you think in systems you see a negative reinforcement cycle of violence .Each action to maintain peace doesn’t give a solution , because there are other systemic factors in play.

I read a blog from Bryan Hopkins(, who was mentioning an article from David Stroh about the same conflict in 2002!!

So, let a look on it(you can read the very interesting article by the link)

In 2002 David Peter Stroh wrote an interesting article for “The Systems Thinker” magazine (Volume 13, number 5, “A systemic view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”). Using a system dynamics approach, he identified an endless cycle:

So what are the systemic factors going on here?

1. Both sides fight for the right to exist – each side denies the right of the other to exist, so coexistence cannot be an option.

2. Tension escalates – retaliation becomes the strategy, as each side sees itself as a victim, and in the short term retaliatory activity seems to justify the right to exist.

3. Pressure leads to negotiations – at some point in violence becomes unacceptable, internally or to the external international community and peace talks start.

4. Peace efforts break down – extremists on either side take some action calculated to provoke a reaction, and the peace talks break down.

The overall result is that actions intended to create peace (negotiations) actually have the opposite effect, and provoke violence. To a systems thinker, this is not unusual.

Stroh captures these dynamics in a causal flow diagram (here, clipped from the PDF of his article).




He uses this to identify leverage points, where changes in strategy could actually lead to progress in reducing violence. For example:

- Each side should think about what it can do to initiate change by reducing threats to the other side.

- Administrations on each side need to take risks to stop the actions of extremists.

- Each side should affirm the goal of peaceful coexistence.

- The international community should not take sides and should come together to support both Israel and the Palestinian Administration to make the necessary internal changes.


Maybe, just maybe, this change in strategy could lead in the longer term to peaceful coexistence in the Middle East. And it is sorely needed.

As a wicked problem, what happens in Palestine has a profound effect on events elsewhere in the world.

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