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Israel-Gaza: how opinion polls used in Northern Ireland could pave a way to peace

Sharing this podcast episode which details the application of peace polls, initially inspired by Inuit consensus practices, to facilitate peace in Northern Ireland and proposes their potential in addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict. Despite challenges in engaging all parties, notably an unresponsive Israeli leadership, the methodology's success in inclusively gauging public opinion on contentious issues highlights its relevance for promoting democratic dialogues and reform efforts globally, resonating with our focus on exploring innovative democratic processes


Israel-Gaza: how opinion polls used in Northern Ireland could pave a way to peace

Published: February 22, 2024 10.10pm AEDT


Amid the death and suffering unleashed by Israel’s war on Gaza and the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, prospects for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians appear ever more elusive. But when the war eventually ends, pressure will mount for negotiations to begin for a deal. When that day comes, how can opposing sides in such an intractable conflict find enough common ground to reach an agreement?

Podcast Summary (AI)

  • Inuit Culture and Consensus:
    • Survival Necessity: Decision-making focuses on consensus, vital in harsh living conditions where cooperation is essential.
    • Conflict Avoidance: Lacks a concept of war, emphasizing peaceful resolution and community well-being.
  • Peace Poll Methodology:
    • Inspiration from Inuit Practices: Surveys public opinion to identify common ground in conflicts.
    • Guiding Negotiations: Utilizes detailed questions covering a spectrum of resolutions to guide negotiations.
  • Application in Northern Ireland:
    • Understanding Public Opinion: Peace polls were instrumental in aiding the Good Friday Agreement.
    • Inclusive Negotiations: Highlighted the importance of including all parties, like the IRA, in peace processes.
  • Relevance to Gaza Conflict:
    • Potential for Peace: Suggests exploring peace polls to address and potentially resolve the ongoing conflict in Gaza, drawing lessons from Northern Ireland.

Relevance to Designing Open Democracy

Aka why are we sharing this article:

  • Innovative Polling Techniques: Highlights the potential of peace polls for inclusive and comprehensive engagement in democratic processes, relevant for assessing public opinion across diverse groups.
  • Nonpartisan Engagement: Supports the initiative to foster collaboration and consensus among various political parties and organizations, aiming for a unified approach to democracy reform.
  • Global to Local Application: Offers a model for applying consensus-building and participatory design from international conflict resolution to local democratic innovation, aligning with efforts to enhance democratic structures at all levels.


Interesting to listen in the podcast that the researcher, who had experience engaging with extreme members during the Northern Ireland conflict and was instrumental in peace polls there, mentioned that while he could engage with Hamas leaders, he did not receive a response from Netanyahu regarding the peace poll idea. Despite this, he believes that attempting peace polls in the Israel-Palestine context is worthwhile for the long-term prospects of peace.

(Plus the conversation is a academic media publication that started in Australia! so gotta support that)