The ongoing violence, despair and apparent paralysis in Israel/Palestine resemble a similar gloomy mood in South Africa during the late 1980s.
Analogies with the South African case are increasingly applied to Israel/Palestine for two different purposes: to showcase South Africa as a model for a negotiated settlement and to label Israel a 'colonial settler state' that should be confronted with similar strategies (sanctions, boycott) as applied against the apartheid regime.
Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley show that both assumptions are problematic, because of the different historical and socio-political contexts.
Peace-making resulted in an inclusive democracy in South Africa, while territorial separation in two states is widely hailed as the solution in Israel/Palestine. Adam and Moodley speculate on what would have happened in the Middle East had there been what they call 'a Palestinian Mandela' providing unifying moral and strategic leadership in the ethnic conflict.
Unresolved issues in comparative politics and practical questions for conflict resolution can be clarified from the real-life laboratories of Israel and South Africa.
A timely, relevant look at the issues of a polarized struggle, Seeking Mandela is an original comparison of South Africa and Israel, as well as an important critique of contemporary peace-making strategies.