Source: (2004) Papers presented at the Third Conference of the European Forum for Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, 'Restorative Justice in Europe: Where are we heading?', Budapest, Hungary, 14-16 October. Downloaded 22 September 2005.

In recent years, many countries developed alternative means to deal with criminal justice related issues. Canada, New Zealand and Australia were first to do so. It was probably the tradition, legacy and formal respect for their indigenous ‘first nations’ population that helped acknowledge and introduce such alternatives. Palestinian Arabs are Israel’s indigenous population. However, the political stalemate in Israel hampers efforts made to restore relations and solve conflicts using RJ philosophy and process. Peacemaking is widely used among Israeli Arabs themselves, and so it is also used among some Jewish communities, but it is unlikely that any comprehensive, state based, formal alternative conflict resolution initiative would be adopted as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists. The paper lists political, social and cultural constraints and barriers that thwart such initiative. It also highlights the potential benefits and opportunities in restoring community relationships within a complicated, painful political conflict. The overall feeling that everyone is victimised in this conflict may open a door to restoring relations. The paper is based on observations made in the Middle East where different communities, audients and interests are involved. Author's abstract.


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