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Righteous Victims: The Role of Competing Victim Identities in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Social Psychological Paradigm Open Access

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Why do Israelis and Palestinians expend considerable amounts of effort competing for recognition as the victim of the conflict? How does this victim identity perpetuate the conflict and impede conflict resolution efforts? What can be done to address this issue? In one of the most violent, protracted conflicts of our time, it is critical that those interested in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution understand the deep psychological issues underlying the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the most fundamental of which is the concept of victimhood. This paper sets out to analyze the role of victim identity and victim psychology in the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Through an analysis of relevant social psychological theories, an application of these theories to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a case studies analysis of practitioners in the field, the author suggests a new way to look at the conflict: through the eyes of the self-identified victim.

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