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Not Talking About The “End-Game”: Pseudo-Negotiations In The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The last 23 years can be defined as the “no-partner era” in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship: after the failure of the second Camp David negotiations in July 2000 the leaders of both sides made their constituencies believe that a peace agreement cannot be signed with the other. Nevertheless, the sides are in constant dialogue. They reach ceasefires when violence breaks, agree upon economic cooperation, and collaborate on a variety of different issues. The sides are therefore supposedly not negotiating but in practice finding creative ways to talk. These negotiations are not aimed at bringing a final-status agreement but only deal with the management of the conflict. I will claim that while not having any dialogue between rivals is usually seen in the academic literature as the worst scenario, in practice talks that are held but are mostly focused on managing conflicts and not resolving them might be as destructive. By providing examples from the relations between Israel and Hamas, Israel and Fatah/PA, and relations between Israel and other Arab countries with roles in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I will challenge the assumption that any negotiation is better than no negotiation.