Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider


Since 1834, the Palestinian people have used civil resistance against the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and in recent decades the Israeli occupation. This ongoing occupation, the apartheid wall in the West Bank, and the crippling siege on the Gaza strip have fueled both civil resistance theorists and practitioners. This situation has been inflamed by religious and nationalistic ideologies, and made more complex due to the geopolitical division of Palestine. With all that complexity, this study asked the core question “How can the Palestinian people strengthen civil resistance-oriented programs in Palestine?” This was to determine programmatic and strategic considerations for the unique situation of Palestinian civil resistance, which can be utilized by civil resisters in Palestine, Israel, and among international activists.

Face-to-face interviews were conducted with four experts in civil resistance in Israel-Palestine along with rigorous research into the perceptions of the Israeli and the Palestinian people about civil resistance. Most of the participants interviewed believed that civil resistance was the only way to end the Israeli occupation. Many strategic components including the Inside-out approach, conflict transformation, religious peacebuilding, Israeli and Palestinian youth engagement, Palestinian unity, and the replicability of civil resistance actions were endorsed by all participants; all of whom also had little support for current Palestinian and Israeli leadership.

It was also often difficult for participants to envision anything except the current paradigm under occupation. Civil resistance actions and leadership, both within and outside of the region, should emerge, but this should not be dictated from the outside. Developing a Palestinian grand strategy should be an integrative, centralized and decentralized process that is genuine to Palestinian needs and aspirations.

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