Developed by Palestinians and Israelis

We have received the following note from Samer Abbas:

“Good day, First, I’d like to commend you for this noble endeavor. I’d like to ask how do you guarantee that PeaceMaker is not biased if you don’t have team members from the other side of the conflict at least in an advisory position? Do you feel that your pursuit of peace transcends blood ties and kinsmanship enough to make you value blood from both sides equally? This is probably more of a question to the game concept creator and game designer. Thanks for your time”.

Great questions. My answer was that we actually have several advisors from the Palestinian side, most notably Hanadie Yousef and Rana El-Hindi who helped us in forming that perspective. You can watch Hanadie in the video below. We also met with several Palestinian organizations in the US that gave us feedback and challenged some of our prior assumptions. We made a lot of efforts to stay unbiased and balanced. Creating two different games (Palestinian version and Israeli version) certainly helped.

The second question is thoughtful and intriguing, but becomes hypothetical. If I have to, I would say that no- the pursuit of peace is not enough in my eyes. An intimate understanding of both perspectives is required to portray a realistic picture and dive into the deep concerns of the stakeholders. From what we gathered during our process, getting familiar with the other side in a meaningful manner is perhaps the first step towards a real dialog. The two sides could disagree, but at least they understand what both care for on the way to a possible compromise.

3 thoughts on “Developed by Palestinians and Israelis

  1. It’s refreshing to know you had several advisors from the Palestinian side… And that you tested your game in Qatar.

    I would like to know, though, about the other side of the question. Who advised you from the Israeli / Jewish side? I don’t see this information anywhere, and I would be very interested in knowing that. Bias can go both ways, as I am sure you know well. So I think you’ll understand my concern.

    I would like to ask just another thing: in a graphic somewhere on the site it can inferred you consider Hamas and the settlers as the “fringe” elements on each of their sides, at least for game purposes. Am I correct in assuming that?

    If so, I would urge you to check your assumptions and biases once again with your advisors on both sides of the question: while the settlers can be quite radical and refratary to the peace process, they don’t have the blood of thousands of people – Israeli and Palestinians alike – on their hands like Hamas, admitedly a terrorist organization.

    Thank you.

    Augusto
    Brazil

  2. Augousto-

    Thanks for your important comments. My answers:
    1. Hard to miss, but on the team page you will see that one of the co-founders of ImpactGames (me) and our educational adviser are actually from the Jewish/Israeli side. For that obvious reason we needed to balance and reach out to the Palestinian community. Their help was crucial in constructing a balanced view of the conflict.

    2. The graphics or our assumptions do not intend to compare between Hamas and the Jewish settlers or claim they have the same agenda or that they commit the same actions. The common thread is that both oppose the two-state solution, they do not recognize the other side as a partner and they do not recognize the other side’s claim for territory. At least this is the current situation.

    Lastly, I would recommend you to play our game and I would love to hear your comments on the experience itself. Hope it helps, Asi

  3. Thank you Asi for your answers! I only read the team page quickly and I missed the info on your background in the Israeli Intel Corps.

    Yes, I guess if you assume a two-state solution as your goal (for game reasons you had to pick a final objective, I understand that), you’d have to make many decisions on the politics of all interest groups involved. That’s OK with me!

    It would be a very nice idea to try and get people residing in Israel (from all side of their political spectrum) to play the game too (not only the former chief of Mossad), and get their feedback, like you did with the Qataris…

    I’ll be buying the game soon and I’ll make sure you’ll get feedback from me.

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