Two words, "co-operation" and "collaboration", sound similar to me. But what do you mean by this subtitle in this context? Thank you.

Co-operation, not collaboration Thus, if Mr Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) is weak, then Israel needs to build it up, not undermine it. Without progress to a state, the PA cannot maintain security co-operation with Israel for ever; nor can it regain its credibility. Israel should let Palestinians move more freely and remove all barriers to their goods (a freer market would make Israel richer, too). It should let the PA expand beyond its ink-spots. Israel should voluntarily halt all settlements, at least beyond its security barrier.

The legacy of the six-day war, The Economist, 20 May 2017 Issue http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21722162-more-ever-land-peace-also-means-land-democracy-why-israel-needs-palestinian-state

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    They may sound similar but they have different definitions. Have you looked them up in a dictionary? – Jim May 20 '17 at 10:38
  • When collaborating, people work together (co-labor) on a single shared goal. When cooperating, people perform together (co-operate) while working on selfish yet common goals. Still, I would appreciate it if you could explain more in this context of the Israel-Palestina relation. – Bakebake May 20 '17 at 10:52

Collaboration has negative connotations, because it also means:

  • Traitorous cooperation with an enemy. OLD
  • to cooperate with or willingly assist an enemy of one's country and especially an occupying force MW

The subtitle suggests Palestinians need to co-operate with Israel from the position of an equal partner instead of a subordinate.


The latin (L) stems of the words have the following references:
In Col/labor/ate: Col- = together + laborare - [labor]. Labor infers an imposed task, or a burden.
In Co/operate: Co- of Com = with + operari = to work, (IEU) op- =produce an abundance.

Ignoring the word roots - collaborate seems to commonly apply to a more academic, or commerce related sense. Cooperate seems to apply to a more personal sense of interaction. When two people agree to work together I would be inclined to describe them as cooperating. Whereas if people are collaborating it is much more likely this is happening in a more structured social environment such as in the context of a business or institutional relationship.

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    That's all very nice, except it has nothing to do with the question. The article clearly speaks of the Palestinian Authority's security co-operation with the State of Israel. That's not "when two people agree to work together". On the contrary - it doesn't get more "institutional" than that. – michael.hor257k May 20 '17 at 14:55

Collaboration does have a definition of working with an enemy, as described in michael.hor257k's answer, and that would sort of be apropos for this scenario, but I suspect the intended meaning is the more routine one (M-W #1).

Cooperation and collaboration differ in degree and objectives. In collaboration, two parties work together to accomplish a shared goal.

In cooperation, each party has its own independent goals and works in their own self-interest. The extent to which each party acts supportively to the other can vary. On things where their objectives overlap, they might work together, even collaborate. When their objectives have no overlap, they may just stay out of each others' way; not go out of their way to make things difficult for the other party. Where their objectives are in conflict, they look for a mutually acceptable solution. Unfortunately, the dictionary definition of cooperate is too generic to be helpful in this comparison.

michael.hor257k and I have a different take on the meaning of "collaboration" in the article. Let me add a few sentences to elaborate on my own interpretation.

When you're talking about countries, which other countries are ally or enemy is a matter of government policy or decree. If the government has declared another country as an enemy, "collaboration with the enemy" normally refers to individual citizens who work to benefit the declared enemy, against their own side.

If the governments reach an agreement to pursue a mutual path, they are, by definition, no longer enemies. The negotiations between the governments leading to that are not collaboration with the enemy, that is just normal statecraft and a requirement any time two enemy countries seek to normalize relations.

The article describes a history of extremist factions adamantly against peace and working to scuttle it, and the Palestinian view of Israel as an occupying force. That would lead the reader to surmise that, especially on the Palestinian side, peace negotiations between the governments could be viewed by the population as "collaboration with the enemy'.

However, the author doesn't directly discuss that, or use "collaboration" in that context. The only usage I spotted was in a heading on a short final summary that described government policies necessary for success. That discussion is of Israeli policies, it doesn't discuss negotiations or Palestinian actions at all.

So my interpretation is that the author is saying that given the history, and the objectives of the two sides being diametrically opposed, collaboration in the sense of both sides working together toward a common goal isn't realistic. However, cooperation (as I described it above), would be a path to a solution.

  • Have you read the article? – michael.hor257k May 21 '17 at 7:45
  • @michael.hor257k, I read it. I can see why you might interpret it that way. I just had a different take on it. Collaboration in the sense of with an enemy usually refers to minor players working against their own side. The article is about the two governments. They are historical enemies but if the governments agree on pursuing some kind of mutual path, I don't think that's collaboration in that sense anymore. Also, the heading makes a comparison between the two concepts, and that comparison makes more sense, at least to me, if they are being compared in terms of the similar concepts. – fixer1234 May 21 '17 at 8:18
  • The main point of the article is a call to Israel to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state. Until that happens, any co-operation between the two "governments" can be (and by many Palestinians is) labeled as collaboration with the occupying force. I don't see how this is "sort of apropos in this scenario". It's what it's all about. – michael.hor257k May 21 '17 at 8:34
  • @michael.hor257k, I expanded my answer to try to address your points. Consider expanding your own answer to elaborate on your interpretation. That will leave the thread with a comprehensive exploration of the terms, and readers will have several interpretations. – fixer1234 May 21 '17 at 10:06

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