Jerusalem and Belfast are both affected by an inflammatory conflict with ethno-national, religious, and territorial dimensions. Both conflicts have affected local residents’ daily lives and impacted the politics at the national level. However, while the future of Jerusalem is uncertain, Belfast reached a settlement almost two decades ago that, although it didn’t solve the conflict, has transformed the situation into one of mutual security and dignity.
This program aims to deliver lessons from other cases of divided cities, with a special focus on the Belfast experience, to local activists in Jerusalem. Though it does not have the ambition of total resolution to the conflict, this initiative will equip activists from both sides with the knowledge and tools needed to reach a stable consensus.
The program aims not only to benefit the participants but also the population of Jerusalem in general. Indeed, as all participants are politically active Jerusalemites, with equal numbers from the East and the West, it is expected that this experience will engender a local inter-community partnership that will enhance mutual respect, encourage social diversity and dialogue, and inspire creative, cooperative approaches to addressing the problems in the city.
This group gathered in four meetings, followed by a four-day trip to Belfast. This trip exposed the participants to the city of Belfast and to local lessons in conflict transformation. On June 7th, 2017, there was a concluding forum aimed at analyzing similarities and differences between the two cases and identifying takeaways that may be useful in the Jerusalem context, while creating a network of activists between Jerusalem and Belfast. For more information, you can read through the summary of the project, written before the concluding forum.
Pictures from the Belfast Forum (May 2017)