The Israeli-Palestinian conflict attracts much scholarly and diplomatic attention. However, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s determination during the 2014 round of negotiations, the parties are no closer to reaching a negotiated agreement over twenty years after the signing of the Oslo Accords. This article explores an under-examined aspect of negotiation, the decision to enter into talks, using poliheuristic theory. We examine the decision-making calculus of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in his bid for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, a decision to not negotiate. We ask not only why did Abbas choose to bypass us-mediated negotiations, but why he chose to pursue Palestinian statehood at the un. In our analysis and discussion, we identify gaps in the existing decision-making and negotiation literatures and ways to better incorporate questions of power asymmetry and the complexity of context into poliheuristic theory.
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Kahneman and Tversky (1979) refer to the three heuristics as availability representativeness and adjustment and anchoring.
Mintz (2004) includes threats to political power dignity honor or legitimacy of a leader in the domestic political dimension. However we argue that in this case honor and dignity are important cultural factors for Palestinians on a social level as well as an issue for Abbas of self-awareness and reflection and less a political factor per se in terms of a loss of political support. The question of electoral legitimacy and political power are separate issues.