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Nash, J. (2004). Identification, Loss, and Reparation: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Israeli—Palestinian Conflict. Free Associations, 11(4):519-545.

(2004). Free Associations, 11(4):519-545

Identification, Loss, and Reparation: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Israeli—Palestinian Conflict1

Jo Nash

Introduction

‘… individual defence mechanisms in the group, society, and national and societal reactions serve as ways of society to deal with its history and its traumas as well as its present-day development; particularly in relation to political conflicts.’

(Moses, 2002, pp. 102-103)

Political conflict, leading to oppression, violence, and war has obvious psychological consequences for individuals, groups, and societies that are in turn socially and economically costly, intergenerationally transmitted, and often go uncharted by the world's media. In this paper I wish to explore how the psychological fallout of the sustained Israeli—Palestinian conflict subverts the sustainability of peace initiatives, through cycles of projection and reprojection, evoked by interlocking systems of defence mechanisms that are reproduced psychodynamically on a socio-political level. It follows that a psychodynamic exploration of the defensive strategies involved would make a valuable contribution to resolving apparently intransigent conflicts.

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