Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Earl Conteh-Morgan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Abdelwahab Hechiche, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.


human needs, intractable conflict, Herbert Kelman, problem-solving workshops


This paper argues that the interactive problem-solving workshops created by political scientist John Burton and applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by social psychologist Herbert Kelman, while not, as yet, resulting in a just and permanent peace agreement, are effective in resolving intractable conflict, and, if persistently used, can significantly help to produce such an agreement. This is done by closely examining two books of Burton and a series of articles by Kelman to describe their process; the characteristics of intractable conflict are also reviewed from the work of social psychologist Daniel Bar-Tal. It is then argued that the psychological elements of intractable conflict and the satisfaction of basic human needs are addressed in the interactive problem-solving workshops, exactly what is needed in intractable conflict. It is also suggested that the many outsider recommendations for the resolution of this conflict will not work because they do nothing to address the psychological elements.

Recommendations are made to use the workshops to resolve disputes between the Hamas and Fatah political parties and various elements on the Israel side of the conflict; the top leaders of both sides of the conflict are also urged to participate in a workshop.

This paper also notes that a fully completed peace agreement already exists in the form of the Geneva Initiative, assembled by Israeli and Palestinian persons exhibiting the qualities promoted by the workshops.