Abstract: This study examines the ways in which social media is used to promote intergroup dialogue and reconciliation in the context of the protracted, ethnopolitical conflict between Israeli-Jews and Palestinians. We focus on content analysis of posts and comments on a Facebook page named “Tweeting Arabs” which was established and is administered by Palestinian citizens of Israel. This page states that its’ main goal is to publicize opinions, thoughts and beliefs of Palestinians, enabling the moderate voice to be heard and encouraging dialogue between Israeli-Jews and Palestinians. The analysis is based on a data set containing posts and comments collected from “Tweeting Arabs” since the page was founded in November 8th 2014 and until December 4th 2014. This data set contains 85 posts which gained a total of 9657 “likes”, and 461 “shares”, as well as 3565 comments and replies to these posts. Our findings reveal that while posts that presented the narrative of Palestinian suffering were mostly followed by negative comments from Israeli-Jews, posts that brought up the Palestinian moderate and peace seeking voice elicited higher Jewish–Israeli acceptance and sympathy. The research adds to our understanding of Facebook as a dialogue provoking platform that enables users from different ethnopolitical groups in divided and conflicted societies to perform peacebuilding actions.
Keywords: contact theory; intergroup dialogue; narrative model; peacebuilding; reconciliation; social media