I am grateful to Ben-Yehuda and Bartoli for the opportunity to generate further discussion about what is a sorely under-discussed issue amongst practitioners and scholars of peace and conflict. Over the past few years I have tried as both a contributor to and editor of Unrest to articulate what appears as fundamental contradictions between the interests of the state and the practice of conflict resolution. I remain deeply skeptical that placing the tools of conflict resolution further inside the defense apparatus of any militarized state, be it Israel or the United States, can help resolve the factors that generate structural and direct violence. I cannot help but interpret CRCs as Dispute Pacification Units. I default to agreement with John Burton’s slightly arrogant tirade that it is worth distinguishing between such terms as conflicts and disputes, because at the very least, such a distinction allows us to understand conflict as something far more complex than just a single explosion of violence or a confrontation between groups. CRCs could certainly be used to police disputes or as a preventive force (actions which should not be seen purely in the negative), but their work would be based in the execution of techniques that prevent violence, not in changing the conditions that lead to it. By their very location and origin within the state these agencies are unable to challenge its aims and are at best reformist efforts to make the state play a bit nicer with others. However, at present neither the United States nor Israel remotely posses the social capital necessary to make anyone believe that if dialogue failed they would hesitate to impose their military might. Conflict resolution at its very core is about changing structures that produce and reproduce violent conflict within the individual, within society and throughout the world. It is a mistake to assume conflict resolution as an equivalent, non-politicized synonym for the use of non-violent action by the state.
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