A personal view by Wyken Seagrave
“Reconciliation” means the bringing together of opposing parties and the finding of some mutual understanding. Reconciliation can happen for example between a married couple, between friends, or in many other circumstances. But when you join the word “peace” with the word “reconciliation” then we are clearly talking about the end of the war and the resolving of the underlying dispute which caused the conflict.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission is probably the best-known and most successful example of a body which tried to reconcile deeply divided parties. It is generally accepted that this commission was very successful.
However the attempt at reconciliation over the conflict in Northern Ireland was far from successful. A Northern Ireland Peace Monitoring Report said in 2014 that “the war of narratives has replaced the war of weapons” but there is “peace without reconciliation”. The result is that sporadic violence still continues to this day.
Part of the problem in Northern Ireland, as Brian Rowan (security correspondent for BBC Northern Ireland) said is because “(a) we don’t know what truth means, and (b) what will a truth process deliver?”
So it seems that reconciliation can only begin once people have decided to recognise the truth about the issues which divide them. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is an example where parties frequently refuse to acknowledge their own guilt for past actions. With this acknowledgement, without first accepting the truth, peace is impossible.