This article analyzes one procedural prenegotiation issue that may seem minor in comparison to the substantive questions at hand, but can become consequential regarding its impact on the negotiation and its outcome. How the negotiating table is configured and where the parties will sit is the focus of our analysis. We examine how these questions were addressed in advance of key Vietnam and Middle East peace talks. The study assesses various strategies that were employed effectively to blur potential visual manifestations of symbolic and precedential advantage by one side.
This article tells the story of how and why, when negotiating the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords in 1993–95, the author developed the concept of dividing the West Bank into three areas with differing formulas for allocating responsibilities between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in each. The origin of how these areas were named is also discussed. This negotiation demonstrates that parties are prepared to modify ideological positions when detailed and practical options are presented that constitute a hybrid to the parties’ former positions.
From the perspective of a practitioner who was deeply engaged in the negotiations, this article describes how the Israeli-Palestinian Mutual Recognition Agreement was conceived and negotiated. It explains the process of convincing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to accept mutual recognition, overcoming their initial objections. While not nearly as publicized as the 1993 Declaration of Principles agreed at Oslo, this Agreement became the bedrock for all the Oslo Accords, and set the stage for subsequent negotiations.