What Is Sulha?

Sulha is the traditional Middle Eastern, inter and intra communal, dispute management/resolution process. The root of the name comes from “Sulh” – Peacemaking in Arabic. The process predates Islam by about 400 years, and is practiced today, with variations, across the Middle East, in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Occupied Territories, the Arabian Peninsula, and in many other Muslim countries.

In Israel, the Sulha is practiced virtually in every part of the country inhabited by Arabs (Muslims, Christians, Druze). The process coexists next to the country’s formal legal system.

Sulha is unique in that it provides a recognized, accepted and practiced platform for transition from revenge to forgiveness. Furthermore, the practice of Sulha recognizes and utilizes local cultural elements such as honor and shame.

The Sulha process is relevant to peacemaking and conflict management at the family, clan, tribe and village level, and may have relevance to broader conflict resolution/management efforts, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, the conflict in Iraq and other disputes in the Middle East.