Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center
“Wi’am” in Arabic means “cordial relationships,” and developing relationships is the essence of the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Transformation Centre’s mission.
The Centre helps to resolve disputes within the Palestinian community by implementing the traditional Arab form of mediation, known as Sulha, as well as Western models of conflict resolution.
When Wi’am opened its doors in 1995, people living in the West Bank did not accept the authority of the Israeli military occupation, and there was no clear Palestinian authority outside Gaza and Jericho. Since many of the traditional village leaders (mukhtars) were appointed by the Israelis during the occupation, their legitimacy was no longer fully accepted by the community.
While Oslo Accords established some forms of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank, in reality 70% of the West Bank remains under Israeli military occupation. The Palestinian community has been severely weakened by more than four decades of Occupation (since 1967), and the Palestinian National Authority has been largely ineffectual.
One of the consequences of this reality is that there is no clear means of resolving disputes within the Palestinian community. It is in this context that the Wi’am Center continues its mission as a grassroots organization seeking to improve the quality of relationships and promote peace and reconciliation in the community. Wi’am strives alongside other forces present in the community to build a society based on democratic norms and values.