Dr. Nurit Shnabel is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, Yale University, Department of Psychology; Department of Education and Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel. In recent years there has been a growing understanding that agreements that aim to end conflicts between adversaries should address emotional issues such as mutual respect, acceptance, compassion, and justice, and that failing to do so will leave these agreements particularly fragile. This understanding is reflected in the growing interest in the concept of reconciliation, the process of removing the emotional barriers that block the path to harmonious relations.
In particular, the Needs-Based Model suggests that following a victimization episode both victims and perpetrators experience a threat to differential dimensions of their identities, and that the reciprocal removal of these threats through symbolic gestures may promote reconciliation between former adversaries. The applicability of this model to various conflicts, such as the ones between Israelis and Arabs, Jews and Germans, or between majority and minority groups within the same society (e.g., Blacks and Whites in the USA) was examined. Policy implications drawn from the model was discussed.