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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Abedi, Amir, 1966-

Second Advisor

Biswas, Bidisha

Third Advisor

O Murchu, Niall


Current approaches to the negotiated resolution of ethnic civil conflict either ignore or negate the impact of the content of ethnic identities on the negotiation process, or alternatively assume without sufficient evidence that violent conflict is caused by conflicting ethnic narratives. Based upon a comparison of the Israeli-Palestinian and Northern Ireland conflicts and negotiation processes, this thesis suggests a third perspective. While the evidence does not support the contention that conflicting ethnic narratives cause violent civil conflict to occur, identity-based issues can present tremendous barriers to negotiated agreement. The postponement of the central identity-based issue was critical to the success of the Northern Ireland peace process, and the inclusion of such issues for permanent resolution was equally critical to the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. These findings suggest that the postponement of permanently resolving such issues until after the cause of conflict is addressed may offer a more promising strategy for ending violent civil conflict than alternatives hitherto explored.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Peace-building; Conflict management--Northern Ireland; Arab-Israeli conflict--1993- --Peace

Geographic Coverage

Northern Ireland




masters theses




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