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<nettime> Richard Rogers and Anat Ben-David on the Palestinian-Israeli p
Geert Lovink [c] on Mon, 22 Aug 2005 20:49:47 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Richard Rogers and Anat Ben-David on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and transnational issue networks (Modified by Geert Lovink) [u]


The Palestinian-Israeli peace process and transnational issue networks: 
The complicated place of the Israeli NGO.

By Richard Rogers and Anat Ben-David

The study investigates the potential consequences of the predominance of the human rights frame in the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The human rights framing of issues is increasingly prevalent amongst
actors working in transnational advocacy networks, often collaborating or aligned with Palestinian
groups. Indeed, especially on the Internet, official Palestinian bodies have assumed a style of
communication of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), blurring the Palestinian official positioning
(and its styling, or "formatting") with that of the transnational advocacy stance (and its look).

On the Israeli side, there is little blurring of the line between the official and the unofficial,
albeit with a pitched terminological (and policy-related) battle underway between the left and the
right to frame the purpose of particular measures, such as the "security fence" (to the
right-of-center actors) and the "separation fence" (to the left-of-center). Whether it is for security
or for separation (a distinction that is crucial), the term "fence," it is argued, stands in for a
regional approach to conflict mitigation, where the connotation could be 'neighborly.' To use the term
"wall" is to frame the conflict in the language of human rights.

There are a few Israeli groups that use the term "wall," in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. No
Palestinian groups term it a "fence."  Thus, in an important respect, one may monitor the state of the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict - its intractability, its openings - through watching language use over
time. The analysis opens inroads in the study of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, preparing the
ground for such a media monitoring practice.

Reflecting the main title of the paper, "the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and trans-national
issue networks," the study maps the network of actors working on the conflict, using special
Internet-based tools.  We found not only the predominance of the human rights frame in the
Palestinian-international networks, but also the absence of linkages from Palestinian and
transnational network actors to Israeli groups. In fact, as the subtitle of the paper indicates, "the
complicated place of the (left-leaning) Israeli NGO" lies in its isolation, despite its solidarity
with the Palestinians. The isolation of the Israeli left-leaning groups by Palestinian and
transnational network actors is attributed to its choice of a regional over an international approach,
and, in the study, is elaborated by its distinct use of language to describe the "fence." The Israeli
groups find themselves in an issue space and conflict approach of their own making, distinct from the
human rights frame that dominates the transnational networks aligned with the Palestinian.

The implications of the work are three-fold, apart from the methodological conflict monitoring
practice (with the Internet), addressed in greater length in an accompanying work (in preparation). 
First, we make a plea for care to be taken in the consideration of the human rights frame by focusing
on the question of its expanding reach into issue areas. We make a further plea for the study of local
NGOs in conflict situations, especially when the local groups do not readily assimilate their approach
to that of the transnational advocacy networks. Finally, the work suggests a means to assess conflict
work between peace-seeking groups from both sides of any "fence."

Download the study.

Richard Rogers and Anat Ben-David, "The Palestinian-Israeli peace 
process and trans-national issue networks: The complicated place of the 
Israeli NGO," 2005, 
http://www.govcom.org/publications/full_list/rogers_ben-david_1.pdf

--

About the authors

Dr. Richard Rogers is Director of the Govcom.org Foundation, Amsterdam, 
and University Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of 
Amsterdam. He is author of Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press, 
2004).

Anat Ben-David holds an M.A. in Media Studies at the University of 
Amsterdam.

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Advanced 
Network Research Group, Cambridge Security Programme, University of 
Cambridge, U.K.

In Preparation

Anat Ben-David and Richard Rogers, "Conflict Indications in Media. An 
analysis of the usage, in official and unofficial sources, of the 
?security fence,? ?apartheid wall,? and other terms for the structure 
between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory." To appear, in 
early form, on http://www.govcom.org/publications/full_list/ (September 
2005).



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