This article makes the case for harmonizing top-down peacemaking and bottom-up peace building in order to create and sustain a culture of peace. The analysis, focused on Palestinian-Israeli relations, finds the answer in the convergence of middle-line peacemakers and peace builders in “a center of peace actualization.” Such a safe space would allow for a shared concept of history, moderate action, and collaborative work on behalf of coexistence and social justice. Implied is the need for peacemakers and peace builders to become involved in each other’s domain and for all concerned to support middle-line peacemakers and peace builders as they advance peace. Such a concern is especially important and pertinent in our post- 9/11 world as the problems associated with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict persist and as the search for new ways for building a lasting peace in the Middle East continues.

Author Bio(s)

Saliba Sarsar is Professor of Political Science and the Associate Vice President for Academic Program Initiatives at Monmouth University. Sarsar’s articles have appeared in the Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture; Clio’s Psyche; Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice; Middle East Quarterly; Jerusalem Quarterly File; Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies; Journal of South Asian and Middle East Studies; Journal of Leadership Studies; and Leadership & Organization Development Journal. Sarsar is co-author of two books: Ideology, Values, and Technology in Political Life (1994) and World Politics: An Interdisciplinary Approach (1995). He is editor of Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility (1996). He guest edited a special issue of the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, focusing on Palestinian-Israeli relations (2004). In 1993, Sarsar co-founded Project Understanding in Monmouth County, New Jersey, an organization that brings Arab Americans and Jewish Americans for dialogue and peaceful coexistence activities. In recognition for his work, he received in September 2001 the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice. In April 2003, Sarsar was featured in The New York Times, “His Mission: Finding Why People Fight—A Witness to Mideast Conflict Turns to Dialogue and Peace.” Section 14, New Jersey, pages 1, 4. He can be reached at sarsar@monmouth.edu.


bottom-up peacebuilding, coexistence, Middle East, Palestinian-Israeli relations, social justice, top-down peacemaking

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