About Our Team

Deborah Heifitz

Deborah Heifetz, Ph.D. Is a social anthropologist, consultant in nonverbal expression and communication with special expertise in conflict resolution and gender. Dr Heifetz is among the worlds most sought-after expert on dealing with border conflict in creative ways. 

More information about Deborah Heifetz can be found at the BraveHearts Institute website. 

Martha Eddy

Martha Eddy, RSMT, CMA, Ed.D., founder and director of the Center for Kinesthetic Education (CKE), brings to the fields of health, wellness and education, her strong belief in the power of movement and somatic-awareness to enhance lives. She received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University in movement science and education in 1998 focusing on the Role of Physical Activity in Educational Violence Prevention for Youth.   She also has a Masters of Arts in Applied Physiology and a Bachelors degree in Dance Education. She has been involved with the Teachers College, Columbia University Dance Education Program for ten years and as an Alumni speaker. 

At CKE, in New York City, she maintains a private practice as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) that involves teaching clients to bring awareness to their movement coordination to enhance functional and expressive capacity. She especially enjoys her work with infants and children with behavioral, perceptual, and/or motor dysfunctions. This practice draws on her decade of training and teaching in neuro-developmental movement therapy with occupational therapist, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and physical therapist, Irmgard Bartenieff. Her practical application of this work provides a foundation for her Dynamic Embodiment Somatic Movement Therapy Training held biennially in New York, Massachusetts and Europe has been affiliated with Moving On Center for 20 years in California, a professional training program that she co-founded with Carol Swann.  The school’s mission is to train movement professionals to be leaders who use mindful physical activity in new, somatic approaches to health, education and performance in their communities around the world. MOC is unique as a somatic movement education program that integrates creative expression inclusive of performance in its educational methods.  The principle of SOMAction, and Embodying Peace skills are at the center of  her therapeutic model.  She integrates her decades of knowledge with Body-Mind Centering and Laban Movement Analysis.

Martha Eddy has designed and taught courses in major universities including overviews of the field of somatic education and the relationship of kinesthetic learning to:

    • anatomy & physiology
    • conflict resolution through movement and dance
    • choreography
    • dance and dance pedagogy
    • embodied conflict resolution
    • exercise physiology
    • fitness and weight loss
    • kinesiology
    • movement analysis
    • movement science
    • neuro-anatomy through embodiment
    • neuro-muscular re-patterning
    • perceptual-motor development
    • physical education & play pedagogy
    • qualitative movement research design
      • trauma recovery and survivorship (www.MovingForLife.org)
    • violence prevention
    • vision enhancement

Her academic positions have been with Antioch New England Graduate School, Columbia University, Connecticut College, Hampshire College, Hope College, New York University, the New School for Social Research, San Francisco State University and the State University of New York. She has provided curricular oversight to the development of somatic movement education and therapy programs including Springfield Colleges in Massachusetts and Luther College, in Iowa. In Fall 2007 she helped to inaugurate the program in Somatic Dance and Well-being at the University of Central Lancashire in England. She currently teaches her Dynamic Embodiment embodied approach to social justice through therapeutic movement in the graduate low-residency programs at Montclair State University, St Mary’s and UNC-Greensboro. She is proud of her years with the Riverside Church Wellness Center where she served as Coordinator of the Wellness Center for two years. 

She teaches a course for NYC educators, artists and therapists on Conflict Resolution through Movement and Dance through the Dance Education Laboratory in New York City, also affiliated with SUNY ­ ESC. 

She has taught conflict resolution, movement, dance, physical and somatic education pedagogy to teachers and to youth in schools, festivals, universities, independent studios, and at conferences nationally and internationally. She teaches open classes at Studio 55C the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92Y and).

Martha Eddy served as a consultant to the NYC Department Education (e.g., developing the K ­ 12 dance curriculum, Blueprint for Dance as well as for Students with Disabilities; providing in-service training for Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who work in the school system; advising principal). As a result of her ground-breaking doctoral research on “The Role of Physical Activity in Violence Prevention Programs for Youth,” Martha Eddy works as an independent educational consultant or in conjunction with Educators for Social Responsibility and Project Renewal/The Tides Center in schools and community centers throughout the country inclusive of New York City public and independent schools. She played the role of Senior Program Advisor in the development of Project Renewal’s Stress Reduction Days for the NYC public schools in the Ground Zero region post 9/11 and continues to train teachers and children in wellness techniques throughout the city as part of the Inner Resilience consultant team.

She deepens her research and teaching methods regarding violence prevention in schools and recreational centers across the country by implementing her Peaceful Play Programming and is currently writing numerous articles and a teaching manual on this topic. As part of her Embodying Peace classes she leads workshops with adults or children in conflict resolution, violence prevention, body awareness, non-verbal communication, neuro-motor strategies in education, stress reduction, the use of the arts in socio-emotional education, as well as related fields.

Martha Eddy has also been a research associate of the Kinesiology Department of San Francisco State University and is a Senior Research Associate with the Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She has piloted a study of the effects of aerobic exercise on aerobic capacity and self-perceived vitality amongst women who have been treated for breast cancer.  In one study, sponsored by the Body-Mind Centering Association, Martha is working with Dr. Christine Kris (neuropsychologist, researcher, and educator) on quantitative polygraphic and correlated qualitative study of the developmental movement performance of people with brain disorders. The other study is with the Medical School and Dance Department of the University of Calgary and involves the integration of qualitative movement observations in the detection of special needs for the young child. The goal of each study is to develop a movement based assessment tool that has validity in diagnostic and therapeutic environments. She has worked with NYU Langone Medical Center to study how effective her program Moving For Life is in establishing and maintaining a positive Body Mass Index – a key marker in avoiding recurrence of reproductive cancers. Moving For Life is active throughout NYC. 

Martha Eddy is an avid arts advocate with a specialty in dance. Through the power of physical movement she has found that any person or group can become better at feeling life’s satisfactions, embody peace, and contribute to creating stronger and happier communities. In January 2008 she gave the key note address for the Jose Limon centennial conference at the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City and in 2009 at the Arts and Violence Prevention conference in Lima, Peru. She also teaches her system of BodyMind Dancing internationally. She is most recently rated one of the most exciting speakers for the online Embodiment Conference that attracted 10,000 participants.  She is sought out for her talks on Social Justice and Dance. 

Martha lives with her family in New York City where she was the Chair of the School Leadership team at her daughter’s public school for seven years, and currently sits on the advisory board of the Micah Institute – convening NYC interfaith leaders in economic justice work such as the Living Wage Campaign in NYC and the nationwide Poor People’s Campaign.  She continues to serve on with Global Water Dances for Environmental Justice.  And she loves to hike, dance and workout with friends or alone at a tennis wall. She meditates throughout the day and performs when invited – mostly solo works about her life in Spanish Harlem, her current take on the world, or the amazing mentors she has been touched by. 


Paul Linden

PAUL LINDEN, Ph.D., is a body/movement awareness educator, a martial artist, and an author. He is co-director of the Columbus Center for Movement Studies (www.being-in-movement.com), at which he teaches Aikido, Being In Movement® mindbody training, and the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education. Paul received his B.A. in Philosophy from Reed College and his Ph.D. in Physical Education from the Ohio State University. He is an instructor of the Feldenkrais Method® of body awareness education. He began Aikido practice in 1969, and he currently holds a sixth degree black belt in Aikido as well a first degree black belt in Karate. He is the developer of Being In Movement® mindbody training, the inventor of SpineLine® Bicycle Handlebars (patent #5,024,119), and the author of a number of books about applications of body awareness training in various areas of life. For fun, Paul swims and rides his bike, runs, practices Aikido, reads, practices organic gardening, and writes.His work focuses on the application in daily activities of an integrated mindbody state of awareness, power, and love.
Paul is the author of a number of books, among which are:
• Comfort at Your Computer: Body Awareness Training for Pain-Free Computer Use.
• Winning is Healing: Body Awareness and Empowerment for Abuse Survivors.
• Embodied Peacemaking: Body Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Conflict Resolution.
• Teaching Children Embodied Peacemaking: Body Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Conflict Resolution.

<a href=”http://www.being-in-movement.com/catalog/?ref=91&#8243; />Books from Aikido of Columbus</a>



  1. A Contribution from Deborah Heifetz-Yahav, Ph.D
    (citations available by writing to Martha@wellnessCKE.net)

    Paper presented at CORD Conference, Montreal 2005

    Deborah Heifetz-Yahav
    Tel Aviv University

    Ethnographic fieldwork of Israeli-Palestinian military security cooperation, conducted during the Oslo period (1994-2000), employed a unique set of thinking tools drawn from the disciplines of ethno-choreology, social anthropology and gender studies. The analysis revealed layers of symbolic meaning in the arrangement of material objects and bodies moving through space. The starting point of the paper frames the analysis itself as a subversive project. Challenging hegemonic notions of what constitutes a legitimate discourse on military security cooperation, the problem becomes gendered. “Soft” analyses of emotions and identity through a seemingly illogical leap to the art of dance and expression risks being discounted as irrelevant to international relations or political science scholars. Furthermore, the field of dance itself is the most marginalized of the arts. The paper works with Susan Foster’s refined distinction between choreography and performance. It brings questions of improvisation, adaptation and creativity to Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding – recognized as an unprecedented experiment in “non-mediated peacekeeping”. The question, for peace scholars and dance scholars alike, was who controlled the direction in which change occurred, what meanings were attached to the process and how did these reflect back to the macro-level struggle over resources and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Ethno-choreology, the study of dance as ethnic and cultural practice, has been applied to a highly volatile and politically complex setting – The Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The ethnographic study mobilizes dance-based and Laban influenced thinking tools with social anthropological theory to uncover an unexpected processes during Israeli-Palestinian military security cooperation from 1997-2000 – the choreography of multiple masculinities (Carrigan, Connell & Lee, 1985) and the management of emotions. Noting the arrangement and access of expressive bodies moving and interacting through space not only facilitates an analysis of identities, symbols and politics but also subverts the very analytic tools used by security thinkers and political scientists.

    I frame the study of Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation within the feminist dilemma, in which thinking itself becomes a gendered project. Carol Cohn (Cohn, 1993) describes the struggle and marginalization of women who bring non-hegemonic ways of thinking and talking about war and peace. When I write about the negotiation of emotions, the choreography of bodies and the struggle of multiple hegemonic masculinities- the cultural, spatial and temporal diversity of masculinity – most military men’s eyes glaze. My talk would not only weaken or make feminine men in the war room but be blatantly disregarded as irrelevant to the war and/or peace project.

    One may not expect the same experience of marginalization in the arts but alas, dance is indeed the most marginalized art within performance and culture studies for it lacks civilization’s pearl – the written word. Although “ways of moving are also ways of thinking” (Sklar, 2001), dance lacks permanence and the capacity, as in painting, sculpture, or music, to maintain itself as an enduring reminder of abstract human constructions. Dance tends to be used as a metaphor for the frivolous, feminine and fleeting. At best, the body may possess narratives, as metaphors for Austin’s speech acts or practices that reproduce Butler’s performativity of gender. But the expressive moving body remains elusive and generally outside mainstream theory except among dance scholars.

    Drawing from and inspired by Susan Foster’s distinction between choreography and performance (Foster, 1998), I use the term choreography to call attention to the thinking body in action – to help refine our understanding that the expressive body provokes thought. And that thought guides, directs, instructs and informs expressive movement. Choreographies suggest the embodied totality of the intuiting, sensing, feeling and thinking aspects of the self and subverts the categories of mind vs. body; thinking vs. emotion.

    Choreography, in contrast to performance, problemizes the body as the self in motion as a thought out and designed repertoire of movement. Not necessarily spontaneous, nor “naturalized” as Bourdieu’s habitus (Bourdieu, 1977) – the well embodied set of dispositions, which reproduce identity and one’s position within relations of power. The term choreography elaborates upon Butler’s principle of performativity, “the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being” (Butler, 1999).

    In contrast, choreographies enable both the dancers and the choreographers to create phrasing, to adjust timing and to attune focus. It requires how I, as mover, must alter and move now in an action to maintain my anticipation of another body moving towards me and whether I must interact. Choreographic rules, principles and guidelines may specify the form and the meaning of movement but they also potentiate and support improvisation, creativity and a mutually adaptive process between bodies moving through space that can change and alter meaning. It is a way to discuss and develop the idea of parole in motion.

    Most importantly, I use the term choreography in order to frame a discussion about process – for this is the special privilege in seeing from a dancer’s perspective. I am not looking at the dance – but at dancing. I am looking at change – at a political and historical moment of transition and at the project of transforming fighters into peacekeepers within the transitional space (Heifetz-Yahav, 2005), the transitional political territory that conditioned, framed and determined the allocation of resources and defined relations of power. Transition simultaneously possesses a temporal and spatial process in which improvised practices both reaffirmed and stretched the rules of the game.

    I found that to negotiate hegemony between Israeli and Palestinian masculinities and “name men as men” (Collinson & Hearn, 1994), military men were seen challenging the constitutive acts that defined their manliness – acts that served as external expressions of internal frames of meaning. Furthermore, mental brackets that most supported and endangered the project of security cooperation teetered on the mind/emotion divide. I refer to the moral sentiment defined as honor (Stewart, 1994). As such, to work with honor as a moral sentiment and refrain from discussing the very different ways in which Israelis and Palestinians talked about emotion seems intellectually dishonest. Yet to mention choreographing otherness risks sounding both feminine and naïve when in a setting of military security advisors. Thus, the following discussion attempts to rework what constitutes the practice of security and hopefully shed light on how to mobilize the successful transition from war to peace.

    The paper begins by describing the “Theatre” in which the research was conducted, followed by a discussion that problemizes the working man. Two aspects of the “choreographed” process – the culture of the gun and the handshake – explicates the central theme argued in this paper: The negotiation of moral sentiments engages a choreographic process that constituted the primary work effort of Israeli and Palestinian military men during the Oslo period of military security cooperation and reflected a value system constituting ideals of masculinity. In other words, fighters-turned-peacekeepers negotiated their expressive movement not simply in order to perform their work – but more importantly, I am arguing that the instrumental practice of peacebuilding itself was to achieve the embodiment of change.

    The Theatre

    The “theatrical performance” of security cooperation existed within two distinct domains – one at the macro-level and one at the micro-level. At the macro-level an asymmetric relationship was arranged in a “field” delimited by the control of bodies moving through space. The field, in Pierre Bourdieu’s (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992) sense of the term, was defined by the struggle over resources and the realignment of symmetry. Since the 1990s temporary borders, as transitional territorial sites, have been a familiar political arrangement that defined Israeli-Palestinian relations. Created by the Oslo Agreements (1994, 1995) and implemented by legal contract and a complex military infrastructure as the modus operandi for the Interim Agreements they established a unique landscape on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    The Oslo Agreements divided the land into enclaves defined by the degree of civil and security autonomy accorded to the Palestinian Authority. Thus, territories were ascribed a different letter – A, B, C or H – and civil and security autonomy granted to the largest Palestinian cities (Areas A), eight in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip. Smaller villages (Areas B) were enabled civil autonomy but remained subject to Israeli security operations. Area C comprised the majority of the land mass, primarily unpopulated or if so, by Israeli settlers, and consisting of all the major thoroughfares between one Area A or B and another. Area H refers to the area of Hebron.

    An unprecedented security arrangement also took place. The establishment of joint Israeli-Palestinian military security forces created sterile pockets of “as-if” equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in enclosed spaces called District Coordination Offices (DCO). Military security cooperation manifested as a unique social experiment of “non-mediated peacekeeping” (Heifetz-Yahav, 2004) . It consisted of Israeli and Palestinian security forces – of equal or equivalent rank – who worked within the same compound 24-hours a day to manage conflicts, resolve banal problems of daily life, orchestrate conflict-resolution sessions and mobilize and supervise Israeli-Palestinian Joint Patrols (JP), which worked together like Siamese twins.

    Their coordinated security efforts took place as other Israeli security forces continued to operate in areas B and C – conducting house searches and other “general security” operations including permanent and temporary checkpoints. In other words, the “transitional space” – as established by the Oslo Agreements – created a security arena where both occupation and equivalence occurred simultaneously. Both existed within a temporal framework and political understanding – as outlined by the agreement – that by May 4, 1999 the interim period would be drawn to a close. There was a beginning – middle – and end point that the social actors performing security cooperation assumed would transpire. However what was written on paper and what occurred in the field were two different worlds.

    Unequivocal asymmetry defines the relations of power between Israelis and Palestinians at the macro-level. Israelis controlled Palestinian bodies moving through the territorial space of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Indeed, the definition of power was body-based in terms of the control of movement, access to bodies vis-à-vis road blocks, checkpoints, house searches and other activities under the general rubric of security and security practices. However, practices of “security cooperation” also suggested a future time where trust and equivalence formed an idealized web of relations. Within the DCOs or on the Joint Patrols, relations of power extended beyond definitions of who controlled bodies moving through space. Instead, analytic focus shifted towards the control and direction of the embodiment of change – of movement quality and expression itself – of improvised practice, adaptive change and creative insights, i.e., of the choreographic process.

    Dancing – A Choreographed Relationship

    In their micro-level relations PLO and Israeli Defense Forces “fighters-turned-peacekeepers” performed daily ritualized practices to re-arrange and reproduce control within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. On their Joint Patrols, relations were publicly performed in full view of Israeli and Palestinian audiences as they traversed routes through Palestinian villages and open spaces. The Oslo Agreements clearly outlined which jeep would lead and which would follow through Areas A, B and C re-affirming national sovereignty and legitimacy yet maintaining the transitional status. Flags and other paraphernalia signified the jeeps as “peace patrols.”

    Highly charged conflicts could and did arise. One jeep may drive too slowly or lead the other through the inappropriate territory. During quiet times at rest stops, the men may shake hands, drink coffee or tea, eat, laugh, tell jokes or remain sequestered in their jeeps to prevent violent confrontations. Verbal or non-verbal insults challenged codes of honor or shame. Some soldiers wanting to create good relations offended the other side instead. Thus, a wide, arc-like back slap may signify camaraderie and warmth among Israeli officers whereas light multiple kisses reproduced respect and power among Palestinian officers. Numerous moments and gestures could turn the relations into violent confrontation whether inadvertently or by intent.

    To prevent or reduce violence social actors rehearsed and re-rehearsed their newly created social structure. Daily briefings occurred separately and occasionally as a joint event where Israeli and Palestinian commanders stood before their soldiers and outlined the days’ protocol. Pre-mission briefings prepared soldiers with guidance of proper movements, handshakes, gun protocol and techniques to avoid direct confrontation. Two protocols mentioned during these briefings will be discussed below – the “culture of the gun” and the handshake – They serve as examples of how the instrumental goals of security cooperation, or “non-mediated peacekeeping”, were bound to movement, bodies and space. It will be seen that the men struggled to embody movement qualities that defined gendered ideals, creating an area where men risked failing the test of masculinity.
    Culture of the Gun

    The culture of the gun refers to the specific protocol associated with the physical manipulation and use of the soldiers’ M16 (Israelis) or Kalashnikov (Palestinians) rifles. It reflected the tension of divergent body practices that changed by contact and mutual influence. Indeed, the process of ‘acquiring the moves’ constituted a singular factor where Israeli and Palestinian military etiquettes collided. Palestinians and Israelis handled their weapons differently.

    In 1994, Israeli soldiers entered the Oslo Agreements with a codified set a standards that were well defined by specific stages. Managing a gun was precise and strict discipline subjected penalty and jail to all Israeli military men. Soldiers were rigorously drilled undergoing a Foucaultian process of discipline and punishment. Israel army rules controlled and strictly limited deviation from norms of military practice. For practical purposes, normative values established safety and security to limit unneeded injury or death. Israeli soldiers talked about the disciplined practice of Tarbut haNeshik – “culture of the gun” – as a crucial aspect of their military professionalism that they measured against their Palestinian counterparts.

    The strict routine consists of six operating procedures that controlled the handling of a gun. First, police soldiers were instructed how to hold and carry the gun when not in use, since their guns were required at all times when on duty. Israeli protocol required that guns be strapped over the shoulder across the chest and pointed down and back. When seated in his jeep, the police soldier should place the gun on his lap, pointing back, but his hands poised and resting on the gun ready to use if needed. Protocol shifts when lethally threatened. First, the soldier verbally tries to stop the dangerous person. Second, he readies his cartridge if verbal warnings prove ineffective. Third, he must then cock his rifle. Fourth, he must remove the safety pin from the trigger. Fifth, only then, is the soldier permitted to shoot to stop – but not to kill. Sixth, only if someone points a loaded gun to kill is the soldier then required to shoot to kill. Israelis must master the moves and those who fail can and have been sent to military prison for the slightest infringement of gun etiquette.

    The Israeli army’s “culture of the gun” became a source of particularly intense conflict when Border Patrol “fighters” confronted Palestinian police soldiers who possessed an entirely different “culture.” Israeli policemen described how Palestinian policemen frequently pointed a loaded gun when angry. From my first interviews in 1997 until my last in 2000, Israeli policemen complained that Palestinian policemen frequently pointed a loaded gun during arguments at the Rest Stop. Consequently, Israelis were forced to re-learn a culturally valued and embodied discipline. When asked about their need to adapt, they reacted with disdain. For the Israelis on the Joint Patrols, Palestinian police soldiers were not perceived as professional, reliable, serious or well disciplined. They were framed as dangerous and untrustworthy. Proof to their claim why, as professionals, “Palestinians can’t be trusted” (Assaf, Israeli JP Jeep Commander, Hebron) was attributed to Palestinian’s apparent lack of a gun culture. The resulting tensions surrounding the gun as a body practice arose during sessions of conflict resolution.

    Over time and numerous moments of contact, Israeli patrolmen learned to re-interpret the moves. They learned “not get too excited” since “Palestinians act according to their feelings and not their mind.” (Rami, Israeli JP Jeep Commander, Kalkilieh). Thus, when a Palestinian policeman on the Joint Patrol pointed a loaded gun it was seen as a threat gesture, a signal of warning – not a move to express intent to kill but to signify the potential power to kill. The way Palestinians managed their guns essentially forced Israelis to unlearn what had become the natural and right way to handle machine guns. In the spirit of Bourdieu’s concept of body hexis, the Israelis had made natural a specific set of body practices that had been both socially constructed and reinforced. Thus, the disrespect towards Palestinians who “lacked” a gun culture in the Israeli sense, created a hierarchy of distinctions and this is reflected in the deprecating attitude revealed in numerous Israeli narratives.

    Palestinian commanders acknowledged their need to develop professional standards according to international military protocol. They borrowed and modified distinct modes of professional behavior observed during contact with Israelis and seen by one Palestinian officer as an affirmation of solidarity.

    Ali (Palestinian DCO Officer, Ramallah).
    We share the language of military men. All military men understand each other for all militaries share the same ways. We also have a culture of guns. First we warn verbally. Second we shoot in the air. Third, we shoot in the legs. Fourth if no other solution, shoot to kill. We don’t have yet a specific step when to cock the gun.

    The critical steps of when the bullet moves in place, i.e., when it is cocked, and the safety pin released did not appear in their protocol as outlined to me. In general, I was struck by the difficulty I found in formulating a coherent Palestinian military protocol for gun use.
    Salim (Palestinian Commander, West Bank)
    You see in the beginning the problem is technical, and then it becomes
    personal. Our job is to make the problems less and less and less. Our soldiers
    are trained to be quiet, calm and to know our job. We have many types of people who are part of us. We were trained in many places – there is Fatah, PLFP, Democratic Front, etc. There are some differences in leadership style but in the military law, to hit a soldier is not acceptable. In our culture, it may happen. We are growing in the direction of becoming professional. In every state there must be a professional army and police that are well organized. This is necessary for our government, for our state and for the peace in the future.

    The Palestinian commander’s vision for a professional army, seen by him as legitimate and necessary step towards statehood, supported a mutually adaptive choreographic process to occur. Over the years of my research, Israelis complained less about Palestinian soldiers and policemen wearing the rifle strap over one shoulder. Rather, like Israelis, Palestinian soldiers wore their rifles strapped over their chest and their weapons pointed down and back. At least for the Israelis, the shared movement vocabulary and newly acquired body techniques (Mauss, 1973[1936]) reduced uncertainty and increased professional trust. The “culture of guns” proves a primary example of the embodiment of change through a newly acquired movement repertoire that resulted from an adaptive process after five years (1995-2000) of profoundly complex and ambivalent daily interaction.
    The Handshake

    Whether the patrols rendezvoused at the DCO or at the Rest Stop, crucial elements comprised the initial encounter, which impacted upon the well functioning of the Joint Patrols. The joint work began only once the men engaged in rites of acknowledgement. Each man would shake hands and exchange words of greeting to the other. First the officers shook hands. Then the Palestinian officer shook the hands of the Israeli policemen while simultaneously, the Israeli officer shook the hands of the Palestinian policemen. If at any point, a policeman refused to shake hands with someone from the other team, particularly the officer, it would be taken as a grave insult. In many such circumstances, the joint patrol was cancelled on the spot. Thus, proper greetings and appropriate touching constituted critical moments before the jeeps went on patrol and the act of mutual acknowledgement became particularly problematic during excessive political and social tension.

    Amin (Israeli Border Police Commander, Kalkilieh)
    When I shake hands I express that you exist, and that I value your existence enough to be willing to engage in a working or even friendly set of relations. Refusing to grasp hands would be seen very badly – it would be a great insult. I insist that all soldiers with the Border Police shake hands with the Palestinians – not only that the commanders shake hands. Now there is a problem, especially when after a terrorist attack or given Netanyahu’s policies, his refusal to abide by the Wye Agreement or after we return from a Palestinian demonstration. But there is no substitution to the meeting. And we insist, we demand that there be an appropriate meeting. The entire patrol is soured if not cancelled for the rest of the day without the initial handshake. The patrol requires a shared connection.

    The political forces that threatened to undermine cooperative work were kept at bay by the handshake. Consequently, it represented a critical moment of mutual acknowledgment, essential in building a “shared connection.” Indeed, the exchange of hands constituted proper greeting behavior and formalized the willingness of the Joint Patrolmen to work together despite macro-level tensions. Furthermore, handshakes could be classified. They represented depth and quality of friendship, trust and respect.

    Israelis soldiers expressing warmth and solidarity assumed a sweeping, wide, prolonged action with a loud strong grasp. Between Palestinians, particularly men with stature and authority, meaning moved from hand to mouth. Touch through the handshake was substituted for a kiss, given out of deference, respect and warmth. The more kisses, the more intense the expression of deferential qualities and attitudes. Indeed, greeting behaviors appeared to possess different shades of “’body-reflexive practices’…(where) bodies are both objects and agents of practice and the practice itself forming the structures within which the bodies are appropriated and defined” (Connell, 1995).

    I witnessed bodies engaged in emotional displays that both validated social standards of social structure and reinforced a certain mood – the performance simultaneously reproduced and constructed an emotional climate (De Rivera, 1992) . The fine nuances of interaction were the glue that maintained working relations and Palestinian commanders often commented on the cold, instrumental quality of Israeli behavior. Palestinian soldiers placed great meaning whereas Israelis were willing to work regardless of warm gestures or mutual acknowledgement. Consequently, the handshake possessed asymmetric significance.

    Khalil (Palestinian DCO officer, Tulkarem)
    We are the ‘peace patrol’. Our work together affirms that there is an Israeli
    people and there is a Palestinian people. Sometimes Israelis are very cold.
    They shake hands like diplomats. Israelis think without feeling. But our soldiers have a love for their commanders and together we are trying to make a new life. We are working hard here at the DCO and on the Joint Patrols despite the difficulties we face with our people.

    The equivalence sought by the Palestinian side would reveal itself in numerous contexts and through various mediums. It reflected the implicit danger in mutual acknowledgement bound to the appropriation of the “Other’s” movement repertoire. Seemingly innocuous gestures created a unique domain to negotiate relations of power. The handshake was also an instrumental practice. Once successfully exchanged it unlocked the gate for each group to enter into direct contact and therefore, mutual influence. Each team not only received instructions by their respective DCO commanders regarding where and when to begin the patrol. But they entered their respective jeeps and begin traversing the West Bank and the Gaza strip in Joint Patrols spending eight-hours of non-mediated contact and problem solving.

    Discussion: Crossing Boundaries of Embodiment

    I have argued that choreographic process required bringing into the body a set of culturally legitimated and skilled moves that served political purposes. It also appears that their relationship reworked the essence of the idealized military man’s ethos. Indeed, their negotiated relationship reflects the distinction Herzfeld makes between “being a good man” and “being good at being a man” (1985, pp. 16, 47) where one’s performance counts more than one’s birthright. In what Edley and Wetherell describe as the “contested territory” of manlinesss, an “ideological battlefield” (Edley and Wetherell, 1996: 106), men must prove their value and valor or they neither achieve nor maintain their manliness. The question is whether what constituted the performance of manhood – the acts that allow men to maintain their manhood – was shared by Israelis and Palestinians.

    The intertwined relationship between political identity and gender identity is well documented. In this paper the specific context of political transition, military security cooperation and trustbuilding proved a unique testing ground for masculinity to fail or pass the test. Multiple masculinities were bound to a discourse of power that required skill. In other words, the men working on the JP and in the DCO were not trying to control the meaning of masculinity. Rather, they were negotiating the validity of one and the other’s manhoods to co-exist. Being good at being a man may not only reside in professional skill (Herzfeld, 1985; Cockburn, 1985; Morgan, 1992; Collinson, 1992; Archetti, 1999) but also along the fine line between control and loss of control involved in the skill to maintain proper poise, the skill of indirect talk, of expressions of honor and respect and particularly in direct affirmations of Palestinian identity such as the handshake. Both sides looked for the other to adapt to each other’s way of performing. Additionally, Palestinian officers did not speak of emotion and emotion work as irrelevant to peacebuilding but made comments such as the one cited above, that “Israelis think without feeling.”

    The Israeli narrative constitutes Palestinian professionalism as a lesser kind because Palestinians act according to “their feelings and not their mind.” As such, the very logic of emotions, which recognizes that Palestinian willingness to engage in a relationship was dependent upon the professional willingness of Israelis to adapt. Israelis actors were torn by mask-wearing contradictions yet their professional ethic kept them in the dance. Palestinian senior commanders, like Salim acknowledged that his men were learning to follow orders because of military discipline and not for the “love towards their commander” (Khalil, Palestinian DCO Officer, Tulkarem) as some of his officers may believe. Regardless of the diversity of professional practice, from the Palestinian perspective, their voluntary acceptance to engage in a working relationship was itself representative of their great emotional compromise, accepting a Palestinian state within 1967 borders and relinquishing the struggle for pre-1947 Palestine (Hani, Palestinian DCO, Kalkilieh; Nadim, Palestinian DCO, Tulkarem; Faruq, Palestinian DCO, Ramallah). Therefore the burden to shift their power relations was placed squarely upon the Israelis, who were expected to assume the responsibility of adaptation.

    Although Palestinian narratives vary a pattern emerges. Israeli behavior was framed as “occupation behavior” (Hani, Palestinian DCO Officer, Kalkilieh) and thus must accommodate and change into tangible and visible behavioral results. Whether by handshakes, “warm” expressions or the sharing of professional information, Palestinian officers identified that the performance of peace would create the feeling of peace. As such, Israelis needed to perform their relationship accordingly. Faruq, the Palestinian DCO commander in Ramallah, described that Israelis must learn to behave within Arab standards, i.e., that they must abide by the rules of Palestinian body practices of interaction.

    Faruq (Palestinian DCO Commander, Ramallah)
    Israelis must know our customs and learn them. People who work with us they should be like us. All the problems with the soldiers are discussed when the soldiers meet. This is what we do together during our joint meetings (i.e., the conflict resolution sessions). Their leaders tell all their soldiers what not to do.

    Palestinian officers did not talk about needing or wanting to act or think like Israelis. Nor did they talk about Israelis thinking like them. The Palestinian trajectory of influence seemed to reflect back towards themselves, a reversed post-modern mimicry (Fanon, 1963) which in effect, established relations of what may be considered a domain of domination. It was the Israeli soldiers who were obligated to embody Palestinianess and not vice versa. Palestinian soldiers required this adaptive process from their Israeli counterparts, but the reverse did not equally arise. Israelis did not expect Palestinians to “be like them” as the more legitimate native man, but to “be like them” as professionals who performed according to the universal standards of professional soldiers. For Israelis, the embodiment of Palestinian masculinity – of gendered body practices – subjected them to an existential threat while forcing them to relinquish their well embodied professional practices.

    Israeli soldiers and policemen spoke about the way they must modify and change the very cultural ethos of Israeli military culture. Israeli border policemen not only unlearned how to face a loaded machine gun without firing to kill but also how to show affection and camaraderie according to Palestinian rules of etiquette. I witnessed Israelis intent on expressing warmth and friendship by slapping a Palestinian counterpart on the back, this form of physical contact and friendliness did not tend to occur in reverse. On the contrary, Israelis, particularly Jewish Israelis, adopted the form of multiple cheek kisses as a form of greeting behavior.

    Moshe (Israeli JP Jeep Commander, Ramallah)
    Q: Could you explain to me honor? How do you manage to giving and receiving of honor?
    A: It breaks down to two: There are two patrols. The Israelis work according to routine, and they do not have a problem with honor. We are used to throwing curses here and there between us. It’s part of how we laugh and be together. But for them it hurts their honor. They have a problem with that. And so when we work with the other side, we go through special training for ten weeks before we get to here and we are prepared not to say, ‘what’s happening you manyak (lying idiot).’ First of all, you say ‘what’s happening’ only after you’ve opened up with him. And to say ‘ya manyak’ is forbidden in any circumstance. For them honor is more significant. By the expressions, by the slang that we are used to, the Israeli slang all of a sudden sounds differently. You arrive here and you have to work according to completely different rules.

    The variations in what constituted proper masculine expression revealed one aspect of the multiple masculinities functioning between Israelis and Palestinians in security cooperation. Where language, physical contact and body expression reproduced solidarity among Israeli soldiers and policemen, the Palestinians interpreted the same practices as insulting and degrading. And while the burden to adapt to Palestinian ways of being and enacting being “peace soldiers” rested upon the Israelis, these ‘shiftings’ revealed themselves as a domain of power where the Palestinian team controlled the direction of embodiment. The choreographic work of adapting, creating and embodying new moves was essential for solidarity-building and central to security cooperation. Yet compounding the shared memories of men of war and the daily difficulties of security cooperation under the continuing occupation, Palestinians struggled and succeeded to reaffirm what Qleibo (1992) claims – that the Hebrews are just one of many cultures who passed through the Holy Land until it was appropriately and legitimately possessed by the Muslims.


    I have argued that a process of embodiment as a choreographed process occurred between Israeli and Palestinian military men during the Oslo period. Through the mindful acquisition of the “Other’s” movements a working level of solidarity was established. The process had multiple effects. The capacity to mobilize adaptive change to support changes in the field facilitated the interpretation of bodies as similar and thus capable of trustworthiness. This occurred as both professional and cultural/national practices – reflections of an ethical or moral way of being in the world as skilled men.

    The choreography included both the structured relationship of rules, ceremonies and legal sanctions and the stage within which movement meanings were negotiated, bartered and embodied. Tests of trustworthiness associated with professional practices or national legitimacy supported the relationship to function despite the persistent forces of asymmetry that determined Israeli-Palestinian macro-level relations. To “name men as men” I have been able to problemize what reproduces men and their masculinity in the daily work tasks of security cooperation. Drawing from Carrigan’s concept of “multiple masculinities” to raise as legitimate a discourse that bonds moral sentiments with security and security cooperation. Thus, Palestinian honor for the Israeli, not only created security through a relation of well-performed equivalence, but also framed the acquisition and performance of honor and respect as a negotiation strategy. Palestinians enabled Israelis access if they properly performed deference. In other words, power was possessed by the ability to access the goods or resources, which were at stake in the field.

    Lastly, the process of adaptive change revealed multiple layers of embodiment suggesting that both Israelis and Palestinians adjusted and modified themselves and each other over the course of their relationship. Each side acquired new moves possessed by the other. One questions however, the choreographic effect of professional honor colliding with Palestinian national honor as a potential meeting ground. For although professionalism is a global principle borderless and color blind national honor defines a hierarchy of belonging, and greater legitimacy for one group to exist over another in time and space.

    Thinking in terms of embodiment as a choreographic process thus subverts what normally defines relations of power. In so doing, an economy of body and expression enters the struggle over asymmetry, becoming viable resources over which negotiations occur. Consequently, as we discuss symmetry and equivalence to achieve the transition from war to peace, not only must we examine who controls bodies moving through territorial space, but we must also evaluate who controls the direction of embodiment and the layers of associated meanings that can detach and subvert social actors from the very ground upon which they stand.

  2. Very exciting to see this focus and your collaboration here. Found your link on communityarts.net. With a background in conflict resolution, group facilitation, contact improv and Playback Theatre, I am building a networking site for exactly this kind of embodiment work: http://www.jubileearts.net . I really do believe it is one of the primary (and ignored) frontiers of liberation for our colonialized “civilizations.” Currently, my network site is under revision, but i would love to cross-publicize our efforts and collaborate for a stronger voice of embodiment social change work!

  3. Dear Chris,

    Thanks so much for contacting us. There are many overlaps in our work so, yes, lets keep connecting. Would you like Jubillee Arts to be listed under Dance, Theatre or CR? If we can do all we will.

  4. Hi Marta,
    I’m so delighted that Berti Klein suggested I contact you to share about A Window Between Worlds (awbw.org). I love what you are doing!
    AWBW uses the creative arts to help end the cycle of domestic violence. Through creative self expression, battered women and children recover a sense of renewal and power. Last year alone we had 60,000 participants in 25 states. Just one workshop can change a life forever! We’re celebrating our 20th year working with shelter staff, providing them with the hands on training, so they in turn can help those taking a huge step toward renewing their hope, strength and power.
    Warmest regards,
    Lin Morel, Board Chair

    • We are reawakening the EmbodyPeace blog. It would be great to get updates on A Window Between Worlds. Do you know Connect in NYC and the Healing of Memories work. These are touching us in many ways as well.

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