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Edited by Barry Steiner

The essays in this book, originally published in a special issue of the journal International Negotiation (vol. 23.1, 2018), are intended to enhance America's ability to mediate Israel-Palestine conflict. Every American president for the last thirty years, down to Donald Trump, has chosen to engage in this effort. To help understand and evaluate these efforts, and to focus upon the more promising mediation directions, these essays analyze mediation options in detail.
I. William Zartman accentuates special challenges of third party mediation. Amira Schiff critiques John Kerry’s mediation effort made on behalf of the Obama Administration. Galia Golan outlines mediation requirements in light of past American mediation efforts. Walid Salem suggests a new paradigm centered upon symmetry rather than asymmetry to assist Israel-Palestine peacemaking. And Barry Steiner studies a specific mediation action proposal.

Walid Salem

Abstract

Third party mediation is critical in pushing forward a new peace process that is based on Israeli and Palestinian compliance in fulfilling previous agreements, including an Israeli freeze on settlements. The freeze will be part of a transformative constructionist process that will allow both sides to negotiate from a more symmetrical position. It will also create more trust among the Palestinians by communicating that Israeli intentions are not about grabbing their land while discussing peace.

Galia Golan

Abstract

Inasmuch as the 2015 Israeli elections brought to power a Netanyahu-led coalition even more ideologically opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state than the previous coalitions, the absence of political will to reach agreement would appear to prejudge the outcome of any future negotiations should they take place. For this reason, recommendations to improve American mediation efforts remain in the realm of theory, but nevertheless may provide useful suggestions for the more basic step of returning the sides to serious negotiations.

Amira Schiff

Abstract

This article examines the factors that contributed to the failure of the last major effort, which was carried out by US Secretary of State John Kerry, to facilitate a Final Status Agreement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The analysis is based on an understanding that every effort to resolve this intractable conflict, even if unsuccessful, is worthy of examination, which can yield interesting observations and insights that may inform future attempts to find a solution. As President Trump’s administration makes intensive efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and the US Middle East negotiation delegation shuttles intensively between the parties and between major regional actors to explore the possibility of renewing official negotiations, this seems like an opportune time to review the major factors that affected the outcome of the previous peace talks.

I. William Zartman

Abstract

This issue contains an examination of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations with an effort to break through the deadlock strategically. It analyzes the past record of failure and addresses the basic problem of asymmetry. Despite the solutions that have been advanced for all the specific issues, it is the forward-looking matter of trust that is the impediment to productive negotiations. The declaration of a Palestinian state and its recognition by the international community are now the basic elements necessary to break the asymmetry of the parties. A second element – allegedly favored by the Trump administration – is to reduce a symmetry by enlarging the playing field to include surrounding states, as proposed in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

Series:

Matthias Vanhullebusch

Armed conflict, today, has diverged from war as it was known in generations past, and from this, has tested the means by which conflicts and violence are regulated. Written with an eye to a region plagued by such conflicts, War and Law in the Islamic World examines the origins and roles that two distinct systems of governance – Islamic law and international humanitarian law – have played in conflicts past and present. Meant equally for the scholar or student, this book presents the legal and policy complexities of today’s conflicts in a new light through its careful and well-researched investigation of the past and the present.

This title is now listed in the International Humanitarian Law Bibliography: https://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/2015/biblio-2015-3.pdf