Through my thesis I wish to bring forward an understanding of the mechanisms allowing the present conflict in Israel and the occupied territories to linger, despite of individuals´yearning for peace. My fieldwork was conducted in Jerusalem September 1995 to November 1996, a total of eight months spent in the field. As a consequence of the complexity of the situation, my focus has been solely the Jewish-Israeli side, which is also the "stronger" side.
I have concentrated on the complexity of violence itself; approaches and definitions, the aspect of agency, and the establishing of legitimacy. I have further dealt with the effects of the protracted conflict and violence on the Israeli society, the implications for individuals, and the difficulty in raising one´s voice against the practices of oppression. Trying to understand how the individuals deal with the contradiction of being socialised into the tradition of universal human rights on the one hand, and being part of an occupying power on the other, I search for the key orienting forces in the process of legitimating their actions, and see the fluctuating between heroism and victimity as an essential part of the Israeli ethos as a means of coping with the paradox.