The purpose of this thesis is to advance the state of knowledge on two bodies of literature related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, namely track-II diplomacy and religion and peacebuilding. Two primary research objectives are considered: first, to analyze the extent that current interreligious initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians can be characterized as track-II diplomacy; second, to identify what Palestinian and Israeli religious leaders view as key possibilities, as well as major obstacles, toward a viable interreligious track-II channel.
Findings from in-depth interviews conducted with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories suggest that interreligious track-II efforts may be uniquely positioned to address many of the religiously sensitive issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet face many of the same limitations as traditional track-II models. They struggle to make a vertical impact on the formal political channels, face the challenge of recruiting ideal participants, and take on several formal track-I-like characteristics that are contrary to track-II diplomacy. Ultimately, religious leaders may be better positioned to transfer mutually generated ideas horizontally rather than prompting a formal track-I peace agreement between parties. Nevertheless, Palestinian-Israeli interreligious track-II efforts can undoubtedly be recognized as an underutilized subset of track-II diplomacy.