Peace Walls

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Conflict Resolution

It would be questionable to deem Yugoslavia and Israel as cases of successful peaceful negotiations since both of their conflicts resumed beyond any negotiations or resolutions. South Africa and Morocco, on the other hand, were successful in providing peaceful solutions to their conflicts through the use of mediators. Northern Ireland has used mediators as well, but perhaps not in the same manner as South Africa and Morocco.

Definition of a "Successful Peace Negotiation"

The definition of a "successful peace negotiation" may have to be set. The end of a conflict does not necessarily equate to a successful conflict resolution. Conflicts may eventually come to an end, but if there were multiple casualties in the process or the conflict's end was merely temporarily, then it would be difficult to name such cases as being successful. Yugoslavia is an example of having a high number of casualties during the peacekeeping process, and the conflict in Israel is still ongoing regardless of any temporary negotiations in the past.

On the other hand, South Africa and Morocco have used mediators as a peaceful solution to their conflicts with some success. These successes have continued on to the modern day. Therefore, these two countries were considered to have successfully negotiated a peaceful solution, as opposed to Yugoslavia and Israel.


It would be questionable to deem Yugoslavia as a case of successful peace negotiation. After the breakup of Yugoslavia after World War II, conflict still resumed. During the Bosnian War, 8,000 Muslim men were killed by Serbian forces in Srebrenica on July 1995. The UN had declared the city as a safe zone with 600 Dutch soldiers defending the area. However, Serbian forces led by General Mladic shelled the city, and when the Muslim men asked for the return of their weapons to fend off the Serbian forces, the Dutch peacemakers refused. Instead, the Dutch peacemakers "were obliged to watch as the killings began." 300 Muslim men then fled to a nearby Dutch base, but they were not allowed entry and forced to leave the base. The Dutch should have known that refusing entry would lead to the deaths of the Muslim men. Due to this issue, the UN was held on trial and was confirmed to be partly responsible for the deaths of the 300 men denied shelter. The killings were considered "the worst mass killing on European soil since World War II," and the mission is considered one of the UN's worst failures. "The sight of the Dutch commander drinking a toast with General Ratko Mladic, the Serb commander, further damaged the UN’s reputation." Although Serbian leader Milosevic was later arrested, this end result was not through peaceful negotiations. "A NATO bombing campaign and economic sanctions forced the Milosevic regime to accept a NATO-led international peacekeeping force."


It would be difficult to consider Israel as a case of a successful peaceful negotiation when there were deaths due to internal conflict as recent as March 31, 2018; 17 Palestinians were killed and another 1,400 were wounded by the Israeli army during a protest demonstration in Gaza. "According to Israeli media, Israel's army deployed more than 100 snipers on the other side of the border with permission to fire" during the Palestinian march. As a result, it has been concluded that Israel is a case of ongoing conflict and therefore, not considered to have had a successful peace negotiation.

South Africa

South Africa, on the other hand, has had some success finding a peaceful solution through the use of mediators.

According to "Mobilizing for Peace: Conflict Resolution in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine," "participation in civil society was one of the few options for the pursuit of peaceful progressive change in apartheid South Africa, and a range of peace and conflictresolution organizations (P/CROs) explored this option."

During "heightened conflict in the mid-1980s and the crackdown on opposition by the South African security forces, certain initiatives emerged which sought to open up a dialogue between the National Party and the ANC."

In the late 1980s, the initiatives of "H.W. van der Merwe, Richard Rosenthal and Van Zyl Slabbert" led to a meeting between the National Party and ANC. "The Slabbert initiative sought to show that Afrikaners and South Africans under the banner of the ANC could talk to one another about political issues and find an act of compromise with an adversary." In 1984, the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (IMSSA) was founded and provided mediation services to unions and employers. Although unions had rejected the idea of mediation, the IMSSA was able to slowly get them to utilize mediation through "persistent low key networking of the IMSSA Board" and senior staffers of the unions.

These were situations in which no resolution seemed to be available with both sides taking rigid stances on their beliefs. Highly skilled mediators were able to loosen the situation and hold a "mediated conversation between the parties, which took place in both joint meetings and in-confidence separate sessions with the mediator." During these conversations, the underlying interests behind their positions came to light, and it was during such discussions that issue prioritization, proposals, ideas, flexibility, and trade-offs were able to be expressed. From then on, the IMSSA mediators were called upon to mediate difficult political disputes not just for South Africa, but for neighboring nations that called for their aid as well.

These mediating organizations helped create extensive links between the various communities and encouraged dialogue. They also "helped project an 'emergent reality'—a nonracial and democratic South Africa, established channels of communication between the apartheid state and the resistance movement, and ripened the climate for political change."


Morocco, as a constitutional monarchy, faced internal political conflict after the Arab Awakening in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011. Protests initiated by the "20th of February movement, a group of young Islamist and leftist activists" demanded a "parliamentary monarchy, more representative democracy, and persecution of corrupted officials and business leaders." Although the King issued some reforms in 2011 in response, these reforms were seen as merely cosmetic by the international community, and the protesters were unsatisfied since a parliamentary monarchy had not been established. In 2012, "the Minister of Justice admitted to many irregularities and abuses in the treatment and detention of protesters from the 20th of February movement."

Traditional conflict resolution in Morocco involved having the "hereditary ‘saints’ of the region who lived in isolation from the tribes," or the 'makhzen,' solve the conflicts as mediators to control the tribes. This tradition was used during the pre-colonial days before the royal establishment. It is important to note that this type of mediation through the use of third-party, neutral, mediators is deeply rooted in their culture. This may be why on July 24, 2007, a law was passed to bring back this mediation process, termed 'conventional mediation.' The big push for this law was also partly due to the previously mentioned corruption issues.

Here are the results:
1. "Although parties in positions of power and pre-eminence have less interest in participating in mediation, the Moroccan monarchy has both tried to engage the opposition in dialogue around constitutional reform and has approved the introduction of mediation as a means to resolve conflict."

2. "Mediation might not be the means of dialogue among parties in vertical relationships, with a relevant power differential, but it has improved relationships, horizontally, among members of Moroccan society."

3. "Mediation projects implemented by some relevant NGOs in the country have empowered both participants and their communities by offering more opportunities for redress and have eased the backlog of cases in court."

4. "Furthermore, they provided communities with skills useful in fostering stronger connections and engagement and better intergenerational communications. These two factors alone, better community and intergenerational integration, are key in avoiding radicalization in a way that is socially constructive and restores social harmony and linkages, as advocated by the Islamic tradition."

It is noted that mediation may just be the first step, as it still needs to be better marketed. Many Moroccans are still "unaware of the process and the opportunities it can offer." Other issues include a lack of infrastructure and a need for better clarification on the role of third parties.

Some organizations, such as Search for Common Ground, are mediators that use a combination of dialogue through interviews, media, and community discussions, to foster better understanding between groups. They broadcast a TV series titled "The Team," which gained a large amount of attention due to the use of a popular celebrity figure. The show sought to "transform the relationship between individuals from two sides of the economic divide" by raising awareness and empathy for both sides. The show found success with youth aged 13-19 in influencing their mindset.

Comparison to Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland used mediators before, similar to South Africa and Morocco, for the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This mediation was considered a success at the time, with mediator George Mitchell considered a key figure in the process. It may have partly been due to good timing. "On the external political level, actors were in place who had both leeway and desire to make lasting changes; internally, paramilitary groups and their associated parties were finally being included in the process; and the simple fact of US involvement had increased momentum moving towards an agreement." The resolution resulted in the creation of the devolved government in 2007 "with the representation of the four main political parties. However, the legacy of the conflict is still prevalent today."

That said, the use of mediators after the Good Friday Agreement may have differed between Northern Ireland and South Africa/Morocco. Mediators are directly integrated into the conflict resolution processes for South Africa and Morocco for a majority of any large conflicts and with much impact. In Northern Ireland, that was not the case. Peace and conflict-resolution organizations in Northern Ireland were "founded to deal with the symptoms of the conflict, not its real or perceived causes, and member characteristics were largely determined by which symptoms P/CROs focused on." In addition, "while P/CROs clearly had no direct impact on the peace process, they did introduce an 'inclusivist' philosophy into the political arena, encouraged political debate, and provided an extra tier of progressive leadership."

It is interesting to note that perhaps a more direct integration and use of mediators for the real or perceived causes of conflict could be a better option for Northern Ireland if they wish to use mediators similarly to that of South Africa and Morocco.


Yugoslavia and Israel are not considered as cases of successful peaceful negotiations, since they had conflicts past negotiations and/or many casualties during the peacekeeping process. South Africa and Morocco are two countries that have succeeded in resolving political conflicts in a peaceful manner. Northern Ireland has used mediators before, but perhaps not in the same manner as South Africa and Morocco.
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Peace Walls

The Berlin Wall, the Walls of Constantinople, Wall Street's Wall, and West Bank Barrier are physical barriers that were built due to political tensions. Our research revealed that the Walls of Constantinople still have some part of it standing today. While the Berlin Wall, and Wall Street's Wall has been removed. The West Bank Barrier was never completed as it has been suspended by the International Court of Justice

Below, you will find the details our research.

The Berlin wall

The end of World War II saw Germany divided into East and West Germany based on the Soviet Union and Euro-American alliance. After sixteen years, the eastern region erected a 12-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide barrier in the form of fences and walls to curtail the mass exodus of people from the eastern region into the western region. Although the wall was erected, it failed to curb the exodus to the other region as over 5,000 easterners managed to cross over. The eastern guards resorted to killing those who attempt to cross over to the west.

In 1989, the wall was brought down by the citizens after the spokesperson of the East Berlin’s Communist Party relapsed the restrictions on immigration allowing citizens to cross over. Joyous citizens used hammers to knock down the wall assisted bulldozers and cranes.

The Walls of Constantinople or the Theodosian Walls

Byzantine metropolis of Constantinople, today's Istanbul, had over 14 miles barricade surrounding the city. The wall was first built by Theodosius II (408-450 CE), it was rebuilt by emperor Michael VIII in the 1260s CE. It was built to block armies from entering from the mainlands for over 800 years. The outer wall was 20-foot-tall, while the inner wall was 40-foot-tall and 15-feet thick.

In 1453, the wall was breached by the Ottoman Empire using cannon weapons to blast holes into the wall. Byzantine was conquered and Constantinople captured.

Some parts of the wall still stand today, while some demolished wall has been significantly restored.

Wall Street’s Wall

The wall was erected to be a "barrier between the Dutch and their Native American neighbors" in the 17th century. The wall was built by the Dutch settlers in the south to prevent a spillover of the war between the Dutch and the English onto the American colonies' island. It was built on the "southern tip of Manhattan Island in the 17th century" and spanned from Pearl street to today Trinity Place. The space between this wall and an earlier one constructed by a New Amsterdam settlement became known as Wall Street. However, the wall was not used for its intended purpose. Instead, "local traders and merchants would gather at different places around the street, where they usually would sell and buy bonds and shares" and it even became a place where "owners bought and sold slaves."

The wall was removed in 1699 by the British colonial government, but the area remained a location for trade.

The west bank barrier

In 2000, Israel began the construction of this wall which "currently runs along the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line that separates Israel from the territories of the West Bank". Although the purpose of erecting this wall remains contentious, Israeli government noted that their purpose of building the wall is to protect the country from suicide bombers and terrorist activities. Oppositions have accused this act as a plot to confiscate Palestinian lands.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice deemed the construction of the wall as being inappropriate and against international law. They mandated Israel to discontinue the construction of the wall.


To wrap up, the Berlin Wall, the Walls of Constantinople, Wall Street's Wall and West Bank Barrier are physical barriers that were built due to political tensions.

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