Dennis Sandole

Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: That actually brings me to my next question which is how do you think it is to explore the past with the parties?

A: I think it is absolutely essential to avoid being stuck in the past. One of things that we notice in the field is that when we sit down with parties who are historically embedded they tend to speak a lot about history and some of them have difficulty letting go of the dead hand of history. One of the reasons that they have difficulty letting go is because they have never had a chance to mourn their losses. They have never had a chance to hear from their perception the victimizer an apology. All they hear is comments from the opposition, the other party, that they themselves are the sources of new grievances of the former victimizer; that is what Palestinians are getting from the Israelis. The Israelis are just trying to defend themselves, they are just trying to etch out an existence, and these horrible Arabs and Palestinians most of whom are Muslim are preventing that from happening.

What about the other discourse? These people are not members of the state. They do not have American supplied Apache attack helicopters. They don't have American supplied F16 fighter jets. They don't have weapons except their own bodies. Then Islam which otherwise prohibits suicide, then says to do the jihad, to protect the uman, the Islamic community, you can use your own body if that is the only weapon you have left. That's one of the new major sources of terrorism, and in our war in Iraq I think is not dealing with that but making that worse.