chapter  1
15 Pages

Introduction

Intractable conflicts are one of the most difficult problems of contemporary human society. They involve mass violence and fundamentally harm the well-being of the involved citizens as well as hindering the potential development of the involved societies in their entirety. Even beyond the immediate costs of sacrificing human lives, in these conflicts individuals feel obligated to sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of the conflict, and societies pay a high price in terms of economy, education, and other social aspects to survive the conflict. Although it is important to remember that conflicts are sometimes necessary to bring about social change, especially when discrimination and injustice are present, most people probably would prefer to rectify these social and moral wrongdoings in peaceful rather than in violent ways. In other words, all other factors held constant, we can assume that most people would prefer living in peace and security over the destructive alternative of being actively involved in long-term, violent conflict. And indeed, research has shown that even societies that have been involved in violent conflicts for decades highly value the concept of peace (albeit in an abstract way) and at least declare that they would do “everything that is needed” to promote it (e.g., Bar-Tal, 2013).