Tamara Cofman Wittes is director of the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and former assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs (2009-2012).

After more than two decades of negotiations that have delivered negative progress towards a resolution of the conflict;

Nearly six years after the lead Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, was moved to question whether he had ‘a neon sign on saying, “stupid”‘;

Nearly five years after Israeli historian and former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami concluded that the Middle East peace process constitutes ‘one of the most spectacular deceptions in modern diplomatic history‘;

At a time when the very phrase ‘peace process’ has become a joke, and when Israel’s prime minister no longer even pretends to endorse a Palestinian state;

What is this Middle East expert’s big idea for making ‘next time’ work?

[More] pre-negotiation before the negotiation‘.


Israeli politicians begin talking about the ‘next round’ in Gaza before the current one is over. Professional peace processors start planning the ‘next round’ of talks the instant the previous one collapses. God pity the Palestinians.

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