Author (Your Name)

Dan O'Sullivan, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Guilain Denoeux

Second Advisor

Walter Hatch


The value of a comparative study of the two conflicts stems from a remarkable similarity in the structural organization of political violence by its most influential practitioners: the IRA and Hamas. At the core, I have merely tried my best to approach a beguiling question in a fresh, dynamic way. The stultifying discourse of conflict that serves as lingua franca for the Israeli‐Palestinian issue has largely reduced strategic debate to how best the conflict can be managed – not ended. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s focus on “economic peace” and unwillingness to commit to a two‐state solution – the consensus that has governed peacemaking for decades – belies such thinking. The Clinton Administration’s cadre of Mideast negotiators operated amidst the most rapid institutionalization of Palestinian democracy in history ‐ yet remained obsessed with Israeli‐Arab “confidence‐building” measures, doing little to legitimize the gains of Oslo. So long as Palestinians continue to view the creation of Israel as “al‐Nakba” – the catastrophe – whilst successive Israeli governments refuse to grant their aspirations any legitimacy, there can be no progress. Peace requires empathy, a substantial compromise in the context of internecine conflict. The “long war” both conflicts have become mandates an equally expansive, broad‐based and labor‐intensive approach – a demanding process that can only be called The Long Game.


Palestine, Northern Ireland, Hamas, IRA, Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Middle East, terrorism