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Master Thesis

Being a woman and mediating Middle Eastern conflicts: an impossible deal or an opportunity to explore? Gender and Mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Abstract : Despite the 10th anniversary of the UNSC 1325 resolution and numerous calls for more equality, women are still massively under-represented in the conflict mediation sphere. This absence is particularly striking at the official - "track one" - level, where men are more likely entrusted than women with the heavy leverages, power and responsibilities the track one mediator position's implies. Worse, excluding women from the peace talks appears as an "obvious" and "necessary" fact when it refers to the Middle-East area. This study aims at questioning this "evidence". One seeks to analyze the real and the potential role of women in mediations led at Track one and Track two levels between protagonists of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the official level appears to be a "men's club", women benefit from a little more room at Track two level, and usually make the most of it by providing a high-quality and essential contribution. What are the reasons and essential components of this diverging role and implication between both tracks? However, one cannot deny that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is particularly complex and appears to possess at first sight cultural dimensions that likely interfere more or less importantly with the conflict resolution process. Yet, mediation seems to be particularly exposed to this risk of "cultural interference", especially at Track Two level. It is indeed a process with sociopsychological dimensions, which success largely depends on the establishment of a relation of mutual trust between the mediator and the parties. We are then allowed to ask if gaining this crucial confidence is conceivable for a woman when she is expected to interact with actors to whom cultural norms are known govern strictly and in a discriminatory manner gender relations. This study will try to answer several questions: What are the causes of this quasi-absence of females in Middle-eastern mediations? Who is really responsible of this? To which extent does the cultural factor play a role in the process? Does it really stand in the way of women? Is there a real risk in entrusting mediations to women in this area? Finally, what innovative aspects can women bring - and not bring - to mediation processes at both track one and track two level?
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Master Thesis
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Joan Deas. Being a woman and mediating Middle Eastern conflicts: an impossible deal or an opportunity to explore? Gender and Mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Political science. 2010. ⟨dumas-00809154⟩

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