Israeli–Palestinian cooperation on healthcare initiatives demonstrates the potential for progress toward peace through nongovernmental partnerships while formal government negotiations falter. Health interventions create space for opposing groups to engage peacefully and collaboratively, but disagreement persists about the politicization of humanitarian assistance. Together with other sectors of society, the healthcare community can contribute to achieving and maintaining peace between Israelis and Palestinians as part of a multitrack peacework strategy. The Arab Spring’s revitalization of democracy and civil society throughout the region creates opportunities for broad-based, civilian-motivated movements for change. Drawing on events during the 2008–2009 Gaza War and experiences with various healthcare programs, I describe three mechanisms by which peace can be advanced through health initiatives and review what evidence is available to support this approach.
How do ministry of Finance (MOF) bureaucrats preserve their dominance in the national budget process? As we all know, MOF bureaucrats are important in politics and policy, we know much less about exactly how they play their role. Political analysis of the interaction between politicians and bureaucrats in the Israeli healthcare policy arena reveals asymmetry of information in favour of the bureaucrats at the MOF. Among others, this asymmetry is also due to a lack of transparency in the national budgeting process. While presenting the balance of power between the players in the Israeli health policy arena, we point to the MOF bureaucrats as the most dominant players – though their power is not absolute as it always seems. Quite a few indications point at ‘non-democratic’ strategies made by these bureaucrats in their interactions with the other players. The empirical findings show that alongside bureaucrats’ expertise, strategies based on concealment, manipulation in presentation of information, lack of transparency and ‘Buying’ politicians (bribe for budgets) establish the dominance of MOF’s bureaucrats in the policy arena. Under the structural conditions of centralisation, the other players tend to find alternative solutions for promoting the public policies they seek.