Australia must push for Middle East ceasefire

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Psychologists at the Australian Psychological Society (APS) are dismayed at the resurgence of violence in the Middle East, and urge our Government to call for an immediate ceasefire.

Violence leads to untold increases in human suffering, not just for the civilians and soldiers who are killed, injured or bereaved, but for those whose homes and country are devastated by war, and the victims of racism and prejudice that are generated by the conflict.

Dr Susie Burke, Convenor of Psychologists for Peace says, “Whether the conflict is between individuals or nations, the evidence is clear that the use of violence escalates conflict rather than resolving it.As psychologists we understand the key factors that lead to an escalation of conflict, and we have all seen this unfolding over the past week between Israel and Lebanon”.

According to Dr Burke, the situation rapidly arises in which each side believes that the other side is the aggressor and acts in what they see as ‘defense’, thereby justifying their own aggressive actions.“What we call a defensive spiral emerges, and ‘enemy images’ are created - each party sees the other side as simply evil, therefore ignoring the other side’s legitimate interests or concerns”.

The APS urges the Australian Government to do everything in its power to support a peace process based on parties understanding each other’s legitimate needs and concerns, and seeking solutions based on non-violent methods of conflict resolution.

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For more information contact:

Clare Johnstone
Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Australian Psychological Society
03 8662 3301