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  • 1. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THEPOLITICS OF CONFLICTRESOLUTIONAMRG. E. SABETThisanalysisoftheMiddleEastpeaceprocessarguesthattheapplica-tionofconventionalWesternconflictresolutionmechanismshas at-temptedtoremovethejusticeprinciplefromtheArab-Israeliconflict.Theauthorcontendsthattheshiftfroma "closedagenda"determinedbycorevaluestoan "openagenda"whereeverythingisopenforbar-gainingandfroma justice-driven"entitlement-benefits"matrixtoautility-drivencost-benefits"one,canonlyleadtoissuetransformationand theprogressivescalingbackofgoals.Acceptanceoftheadver-sarysframeworkhas reducedArabnegotiatorstosupplicantsratherthancounterpartswhoseperceptionscan be managedbytheoppo-nent.AfterexaminingArab options,the authorconcludesthatwhateversettlementemergesfromthecurrentprocessisboundtofailbecauseitcannotfulfillbasicdemandforjustice,resultingina redefi-nitionoftheconflictin itsbroaderreligiousand strategichorizons.THE FANFARE SURROUNDING THE MIDDLE EAST "PEACE PROCESS" has obscuredhowlittleithas been subjectedto systematicand objectiveanalysis.Norhave itsnegotiationprinciplesbeen sufficientlyscrutinizedto bringouttheunderly-ingnatureand structureoftheprocessoritsabilitytodeliveron itspromises.Ifa yetmore violentand bitterfutureof theArab-Israelicollisionis to beavoided,distinctionmustbe made betweenconflictresolutionas "thetrans-formationof relationshipsin a particularcase by the solution of theproblemswhichled to theconflictualbehaviorin thefirstplace" and "thesuppressionor settlementof conflictby coercivemeans,or by bargainingand negotiationinwhichrelativepowerdeterminestheoutcome."1The dis-tinctionmustbe made,then,betweenresolutionand settlement.Forunlesstheformerobtainsand incorporatestheprincipleofjustice (particularlyintheconflictscorePalestinianissue),the"peace process"cannotbutcollapseintoa reducedand unstablesettlementarrangement.PEACE TRANSFORMATION AND THE POLITICS OF INJUSTICEThe current"peace process"has attemptedto circumvent,transform,andconceptuallyobliteratethe justiceprincipleof the Arab-IsraeliconflictbyAMR G. E. SABET is visitingassociate professorof political science at Tampere University,Finland.Journal of Palestine Studies XXVII, no. 4 (Summer 1998), pp. 5-19.
  • 2. 6 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIESresortingto conventionalWesternconflictresolutionmechanisms.Thesemechanismshave fundamentallyalteredthepoliticalagenda oftheconflictthroughsubterfugeand issue transformation.This developmentwas facili-tatedby systemicand regionalchangesarisingfromthecollapse oftheSo-vietUnion,thesecond GulfWarand thedestructionofIraq,and American-Israelimilitaryand scientificcooperation.The applicationofWestern"conflictresolution"mechanismsrequiredtheintroductionof superordinateaxes to change the regionsregimeof alli-ances. "Moderate"Araband Jewishforcessupporting"peace" were to bealignedagainst"radicals"or "extremists"opposing itinbothsocieties.Arableaderswere to make commoncause withIsraelin fightingnotextremismper se, but Islamicresistanceto the concessional schemes being workedout-in otherwords,theywere to fighttheirown so as to claim sharedgroundwithIsrael.Paralleltothesechangesinthepoliticalconstellationwasa shiftfroma "closed agenda" determinedby immutablecore values to an"open agenda" whereeverythingis open forbargaining.Thus,insteadofaclosed agenda settingIslamistsand existingregimesas naturalalliesagainsta commonIsraelienemy,thenew open agenda evolved intoone of con-frontingtheeffectsofinjusticeratherthanitscauses.The negotiatingstrategyadopted bytheArabsaftertheGulfWarwas ar-ticulatedby PresidentHusni Mubarakof Egypt,who inJanuary1989 pro-claimedthathe and otherArableaderswere supportedin theirsearchforpeace by "thepeace lovingforcesin Israelitself."He indicatedthatafterallthesacrificesin previouswarswithIsrael,he "was notreadyto takemorerisks."2Thisstatementbasicallyacknowledgestheconflicttobe one ofcostsratherthanofentitlements,ofpragmatismratherthanrights,and conveysawillingnessto playbytherulesoftheopponent.Expressinghisratherlim-itedunderstandingoftheVietnamesecase as an exampleofa warthat"wassettledonlythroughnegotiations,"Mubarakfailedto relatetheoutcometoconditionson theground.The Vietnameseweresuccessfulinimposingtheirwillon a farmorepowerfuladversarypreciselybecause theyhad been will-ingtotakerisks,whiletheArabpartysstartingpointfornegotiationswas toconcede entitlementclaims.SincetheArabswerewillingto relinquishwhattheyhad consideredsacredsince 1948,furtherpressurecould be expectedto lead themto concede otherrightsand Jerusalemas well-after all, theprecedenthad been set. ThisintroducedstructuraltransformnationscapableofchangingthepsychologicaldistributionofpowerheavilyinfavorofIsraeland alteringtheArabpositionfromone ofdefiancetoone ofvirtualsubmis-sion. As a settlementmechanism,the "peace process" has recastthe sub-stance of the conflictby steadilycreatingthe appropriateenvironmentalmeans-endsframeworkforsuch "concessions"to be made.Negotiationconstitutesthe "artof the dialecticsof wills thatuse force(and/orpeacefulmeasures)to resolvetheirconflict."3Strategiesand tactics,in additionto optionsand the available resources,constitutethepillarsofnegotiatingdynamics.Theiroverridingprincipleis to takeadvantageto the
  • 3. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 7extentpossibleoftheadversarysweaknessesand oversights.The configura-tiveoutcomedeterminestheagreementsreachedand how theyare imple-mented. In thissense, negotiationis a double-edgedsword:itcan resolveconflictsor exacerbatethem.Whileitis impossibleto predictwithcertaintythe resultof a negotiatingprocess,a numberof premisesmayindicateitsdirection.Thus,thefinaloutcomeofnegotiationsusuallyreflectstherelativepowerconfigurationofthepartiesconcerned;"whereone endsup dependson whereone starts";4and negotiatingoutcomesemanatenotonlyfromob-jectivematerialconditionsbut,as importantly,fromsubjectivepsychologicalfortitude.The weakerside in particularmustthusexhibitconsiderablefirm-ness to establisha credibilitythresholdsufficientto make demandsor up-hold positions.Otherwise,in cases ofasymmetricalpower,diminishedwillinevitablytranslatesintoa one-sidedopen agenda in which-as faras theprivilegedpartyis concerned-agreementmaynotnecessarilybe preferredto nonagreement.Failureofwill also allows fortheunilateralalterationoftherulesofthegameand forredefiningthenormsthatall actorsmustfollowintheirmutualrelations.5Once thisstagehasbeen reached,negotiationsub-stantivelyceases, since, as Henry Kissingernoted, "the weak do notnegotiate."6Both theAmericansand the Israelisbelieved thata step-by-stepratherthana comprehensivenegotiatingapproachwould contributeto undermin-ingtheArabconsensusof"notalks,no recognition,no peace" thatemergedattheKhartoumsummitinAugust1967. The purposewas todividetheArabworld,winde factorecognitionofIsrael,and putIsraelina strongerpositionwhenitcame tonegotiatedirectlywiththefront-linestatesand thePalestini-ans.7Israelstacticwas to bringtheArabsinto"stepbystep,practicalsettle-ments and interimagreements as a gradual incrementalprocess ofinterlockingtherivalsintopositivearrangementswhichmaymakeitmoredifficultforthemtoreverttoopen conflictand war."8Suchtacticswerecon-sistentwiththeoverallstrategyofdetachingEgyptfromtheArab-Israelicon-flict,isolatingSyria,and, on the Palestinianfront,pursuinga policy ofcantonizationin Gaza and the West Bank. Above all, the approach suc-ceeded in breakingthenecessarylinkbetweenstatecraftand war.Once allthishad been achieved,Israelreverseditsposition,withthecurrentprimeminister,BenjaminNetanyahu,callingfor"a package approach"thatcircum-ventstheagreementssignedearlier.9PEACE-JUSTICE DIALECTICSPower relationsbased on considerationsof mightfrequentlyoffenda"sense ofjustice"and fueltheemotionsof resentmentand angerthatulti-matelylead to violence. Notionsof injustice"as a reactionto a perceiveddiscrepancybetweenentitlementsand benefits"alwaysremainan inherentriskfactor.10"Peace"as theoppositeofviolenceratherthanas a reflectionofjusticeis unlikelytoovercomesuchconcerns.Bereavementsinflictedbythe
  • 4. 8 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIESWeston theArabsingeneral,and on thePalestiniansinparticular,havefromtheoutsetcharacterizedtheconflictinArabeyesas one ofentitlement-bene-fits(as opposed to themore pragmaticbargainingapproach of cost-bene-fits),meaningthatitis thenotionofrightsthatis thedeterminingfactorandthatwhateverbenefitsderivefromthe conflictsresolutionare secondary.The Arabsense of injusticehas triggeredintenseemotionalresponsesthatcannotbe quantifiedsolelyin tangibletermsor reducedsimplyto an aver-sion to loss. Phenomenologically,thesense ofjustice"engage(s) powerfulpassionsthathavetheeffectofincreasingthestridencyofdemands,amplify-ing intransigence,reducingsensitivityto threatsand value trade-offs,in-creasingthewillingnesstorunrisks,and increasingthelikelihoodofviolentbehavior."" ThishelpsexplaintheviolenceassociatedwithmilitantMuslimorganizationssuch as Hamas, Hizballah,and IslamicJihad.Theiracts arelargelythe observablesymptomsof theunobservableneed to respondtogroupinsultwithrage.12Referringto the Islamistorganizationsas terroriststructuresopposingpeace is partofan alternativediscursivemechanismthatseeks to eliminatetheentitlement-benefitsdiscrepancycontextin favorof one based on cost-benefits,the formerbeingdepicted as irrationaland the latteras rational.Buthistoricalexperienceshows thatwhen basic entitle-mentsare at stake againstoverrwhelmingodds, lessrationalityactuallyfaresbetterthanmore rationality.For instance,the Czechs behaviorwithrespecttoNazi Germanysdemands for theirland was "toorational"in thefaceofa militarythreattheybelievedtheycould notwin againstin thelong run.13In contrast,theFinnsand theNorthVietnamesewere less rationaland moreemotional,moredeterminedtofightagainsttheoverwhelmingpoweroftheSovietUnionand theUnitedStates,respectively.Finland,whilelosingtwice,earnedrespectand perhapsmade itselfless attractiveas a potentialsatellite.The NorthVietnamese,ofcourse,ultimatelyprevailed,14winninga warinwhichtheyhad lostvirtuallyall thebattles.Ithardlybearsmentioningthat,withinthecontextoftheU.S.-constructed"peace" discourse,itis fareasier to manipulatepartieswhosecalculatingmatrixdriftstowardcost-benefitquantifications(the Czech op-tion) than partieswho are not prey to such calculations(the Finn orVietnameseoption).The justicemotivediffersfromaversionto loss both prescriptivelyandextensively.Prescriptively,thedesireto see justicedone "thoughtheearthmayperish"is a driveembeddedinbasic humanvalues and is indifferenttomaterialvaluationsbased on economyor self-interest.Extensively,thejus-ticemotivediffersfromgain-lossconsiderationsin thatitinvolvesnotwhatpeople would like to have butwhattheyconsidertheirdue, theirentitle-ments.People withintheentitlement-benefitsvalue matrixusuallyare will-ing to incura heavy price forpotentiallyless usefulthingstheyconsiderHistorical experience showsthat when basicentitlementsare at stakeagainst overwhelmingodds, less rationalityactually fares betterthanmore rationality.
  • 5. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 9theirsas a matterofrightand arewillingtotradeofforforesweargoods thattheywould liketohavebuttowhichtheydo notfeelentitled."Themode ofreasoninginvolvedin thedefenseofones entitlements,"therefore,"differsfundamentallyfromthemode ofreasoninginvolvedin thepursuitofothergoods: ittendsto be categoricaland deontologicalratherthanutilitarian."15In substance,Israel,aided byAmericanindifferenceifnotcomplicity,at-temptedto reconcilethe entitlement-benefitsdiscrepancynot by meetinglegitimatePalestiniandemandsbutbytransformingtherulesin such a waythatthePalestinianAuthority(PA), led by YasirArafat,would increasinglyact-if notactuallybelieve-as ifithad misconceivedthescope and contentofPalestinianentitlements.16As YehoshafatHarkabi,formerchiefofIsraelimilitaryintelligence,pointedout:"Makingtheopponentuneasyand apolo-geticabout his objective,is a firstsmallstep in theprocess of itserosion,inducinghimto startdiscardingit."17Thus,recentyearsappear to have wit-nessed a progressivescalingback ofPalestinianexpectations.Indeed,withtheexceptionofthehighlyskillednegotiatorHafizal-AsadofSyria,a look atthenegotiatingpatternsofArabdecision makersrevealsa significantpro-pensityto modifythevalues at stakein a fashionthatultimatelychallengestheirown entitlements.Israel,on theotherhand,continuesto maintainitsown constantsand payoffsintermsofa unifiedJerusalemunderitscontrol,possession of mostof the West Bank (despite redeploymentmaneuvers),monopolizedaccess tonuclearweapons,priorityofIsraelisecurityconcernsoverall otherconsiderations,and eventualaccess to thewaterresourcesoftheNile and theEuphrates.18Israels delinkingof securityfromchanges on the groundinJerusalemand theWestBank,and thereforefromthepoliticalheartofthe"peace pro-cess,"reflectsa furtherattemptto divestthepurportedPalestinian/Arabne-gotiatingformulaofitssubstance.DuringhisAugust1997visittotheregionin the wake of Hamas bombings in Jerusalem,U.S. envoy Dennis Rosssoughtfurtherto entrenchthe Palestiniannegotiatorwithinthisdelinkingstructure.He calledupon IsraelisandPalestinianstoworkas partnersagainstthe"commonthreat"frommilitants,emphasizingthat"securityis somethingthatservesIsraeliinterestsand Palestinianinterests."19Israelisecuritywasthusto become thePAs objective,whetheror notPalestiniandemandsforstatehoodcould orwould be met.In returnforArafatsresumptionofsecur-itycooperationwithIsrael,Ross gave a vague promise of an upcomingbroadU.S.peace initiativethatsupposedlywould addressPalestinianscom-plaintsagainstIsrael,including"some kind"offreezeon settlementexpan-sion.20ButwhenSecretaryofStateMadeleineAlbrightvisitedtheregionthefollowingmonth,she respondedto complaintsthatIsraelwas strengtheningitsgriponJerusalem,expandingcolonies,and levelingthehomes ofPales-tiniansbydeclaringthat"thereis no moralequivalentbetweenkillingpeo-ple and buildinghouses.... The PalestinianAuthoritymusttakeunilateralstepsand actionsto rootout theterroristinfrastructure."21
  • 6. 10 JOURNALOF PALESTINE STUDIESThe problemwithunilateralgestures,as Kissingernoted,is thatthey"re-move a keynegotiatingasset.In general,diplomatsrarelypay forservicesalreadyrendered."Moreover,he continued,theytemptthe adversary"todragoutthenegotiationsinordertodeterminewhetherotherunilateralges-turesmaybe forthcoming."22Notonlydid Albrightdemandsuch unilateralgesturesofthePalestinians,she refusedtoacknowledgeanyconnectionbe-tween themilitantacts of some Palestiniangroupsand theIsraeligovern-mentsbreakingofagreementsandsettlementexpansion.RossspromisestoArafatcan be likenedtoBritainsWorldWarI commitmentsto supportinde-pendence forArabsiftheyjoined thewar effortagainstOttomanTurkey.ArafatsrelationshipwithIslamistgroups,however,is too complexto en-able himto accede to U.S.-Israelidemandsfora crackdownon theirinfra-structure,atleastnotto theextentdesired.Formuchas Arafatwould liketoclamp down on theIslamists,he knows thatdestroyingthemcould meanpoliticalsuicide.EradicatingHamas and IslamicJihadwould diminishhisusefulnessas a negotiator:theIslamistsarehislasttrumpcard.Thisiswherethe inherentcontradictionsof a common securityframeworkcan be feltmoststrongly.WhiletheIsraeliswould liketo see Islamicoppositionelimi-natedtotally,Arafatcannotwithoutjeopardizinghis own survivaldo morethancontainandweaken them.Thus,thePAandIsraelcannotpursuea com-mon securitypolicy,but onlya parallel one. Arafatsdilemmais thatthissituationprojectshimsimultaneouslyas a collaborator(to theIslamists,aswell as tosome secularnationalists)and as an ineffectiveand uncooperativeleader(to theAmericansand Israelis).The resultis a concessionaryoutcomethatcan lead onlyto theerosionofthePAslegitimacy,forcingitto controlitsown people by increasinglycoercivemeasures.23However much Israelismay loathe Arafat,he representsforthemthelesser of evils and a kindof safetyvalve. His rumblingsabout not beingdictatedtobyIsraelcannotconceal thathisrealconcernisfearofgeneratingsympathyforIslamicmilitantsbyacquiescinginIsraelidemands.Moreover,the concentrationof power in Arafatshands,his personal controlof thefundsprovidedby internationaldonors,his virtuallack of accountability,and hiseffortstoweakenallotherforcesand socialinstitutions-inshort,thefactthathe has become thePAin all butname24 significantlyconsolidatesIsraelsposition.Thus,and notwithstandingtheIslamistmilitants,Israelbycontrollingthe"chiefcan controlthe"tribe."In thisrespect,thePA,thoughshortofbeing a state,is notan aberrationbuta typicalregionalplayer.PEACE CONCESSIONS AND THE STRATEGY OF DEFEATEmpiricalstudiesregardingwinnersand losers in negotiationsindicatethatthepartieswithhigheraspirationlevels actuallygetmore.Opponentswithhighaspirations,irrespectiveoftheirskillor power,ended up as win-nersineverycase wheretheyopposed low aspirants.Furthermore,negotia-tors who made the firstcompromiseended up the losers in the final
  • 7. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 11outcome.25In thelightofsuch findings,itfollowsthatthestrategicconces-sions initiatedby thelate PresidentAnwarSadat throughthe Camp Davidregime,and in whose footstepsa numberof otherArableaders have fol-lowed, can onlylead to disastrousconsequences fortheArabworld.Thepatternof concessions thatinevitablyresultswhen one partyvirtuallyde-claresitselfdesperateto opt out of confrontationwhile the otherremainsdeterminedcan neverbe just,forseveralreasons.First,concessionsarefaironlyas longas thenegotiatorshave no need torevisetheiroriginalexpectationsabout the overallshape of the ultimateagreementor about theirstrategicgoals ofentitlement.26Leavingaside thedowngradingof Palestinianexpectationsthatpreceded Oslo, the Oslo ac-cordsallowed thePalestiniannegotiatortoanticipatea Palestinianstatecov-eringmostoftheWestBankand Gaza attheend oftheprocess.Sincethen,thePA appears to have been reducedby thenegotiatingpatternithas fol-lowed to nothingmore thanan auxiliaryIsraelisecuritystructure.Indeed,theentireArabworldhas undergonean extraordinaryscalingback ofgoals.As MubarakschiefpoliticaladviserOsama Baz remarked,theconflictbe-tween the Arabs and Israel is now over boundariesand no longerover27Israelsexistence. (In contrast,formerIsraelichiefof staffRaphael Eitandeclaredtheconflictto be "civilizational.")Second,negotiationrequiresthatpartiesbe governedbythesame rules,withneitherside havingtherighttoalterthemunilaterally.Giventhatnego-tiationis a matteroffindingtheproperformulaas a referentprincipleandthenimplementingdetail,28ifone partycan changethenegotiatingformulaatwilland theotheris constrainedbyit-thatis,ifthepartiescease tohaveequal stalematingpower-then no mechanismofjointdecisionmakingex-istsand thetalksno longerconstitutenegotiations.Itis thusthatIsraelhasunilaterallyalteredthe formulafromland forpeace, as was agreed at theOctober1991Madridconference,to peace forpeace or securityforpeace.Thischange,whichfundamentallyreorderstheprocessinIsraelsimage,be-gan undertheLaborgovernment,albeitless overtly;29to personalizetheis-sue by presentingitas a Netanyahuinitiative,as manyArabstendto do,ratherthanas a matterof Israelistrategyis to blurthe deeper factors,al-lowingtheoptionlessArableaderstobuytimebydeludingthemselvesthatareturnofLaborwillsetthingsright.Finally,while any concessions made by the Israeliside can only comefromgainsacquiredattheexpense oftheArabside,reciprocalconcessionsbytheArabsmustinevitablycome outoftheirown capital.A frameworkofmutualconcessions,whilein appearance procedurallyfair,hidesa substan-tiveinjusticeinflictedon one negotiatingparty.Whateverjustificationsarecited forthisstateof affairs-thebalance of power, the situationon theground,thefactthatIsraelwon theland militarily-thenegotiatingexerciseisessentiallyreducedtothevictorsimposingitswillon thevanquished.Thissituationinvitestermsof surrenderratherthantheconciliationthatcomesfromconflictresolution.
  • 8. 12 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIESThe Palestinianleaderthuscommitteda seriousstrategicmistakebysign-inginterimagreementsthatdeferredtoa laterstagesuchfundamentalissuesas Jerusalem,refugees,and Jewishcolonies-in otherwords,by signingagreementsemphasizingtheprocessofinteractionratherthanthecontentofthenegotiatingpositions.30Sucha blunderwas a reflectionoftheArab/Pal-estiniannegotiatorsinabilitytorankprioritiesofnationalinterestsand goals,as well as theirconfusionof means and ends. Withintheframeworkof aconfidence-buildingprocess(as opposed to one based on content),prioritygoes to currentand ad hoc problemsofwhatevermagnitudeattheexpenseof long-termstrategicconsiderations,in essence resultingin a policythatgives equal weightto all issues.Indeed,thisprocess-orientatedframeworkactuallyleads to a confusionofpriorities,and ifprioritiesare confused,nolong-termnationalintereststrategycan be focused upon, nor decisionsabout thechannelingof resourcesmade. Processbecomes an end in itselfratherthanthemeans itis supposed to be.Thisloss ofstrategicbalance iswhatmade itpossibleforIsraelto "screw"thePalestiniansat Oslo II,to use LaborleaderShimonPeressfrankexpres-sion.31Indeed, whateverWesternconflictmanagementframeworkis uti-lized,theArabswilllose everytimetheyagree to be placed in an externalrulestructure.As CarlSchmittobserved,ifa people permitsanotherpartytodetermineon itsbehalfthe distinctionof friendand enemy,"thenitis nolonger a politicallyfree people and is absorbed into anotherpoliticalsystem."32In endingtheintifadaand signingtheOslo accords,Arafatgave up twoofhis mostimportanttrumpcardswithoutreceivinganythingofsubstanceinreturn.HiserrorfurtherabsolvedtheAraband otherstatesofanyembarrass-mentthatmighthavepreventedthemfromnormalizingrelationswithIsrael,effectivelybolsteringitsregionaland internationalstatusand endingitsiso-lation.In so doing,thePLO squanderedtheverylimitedleverageithad andplaced itselfin itsenemysgrip,or at best in thatof itsAmericanally(inmuchthe same fashion,thoughunderfarworse conditions,as Egypthaddone earlier).Nothingin thePAs negotiatingpatternwould seem to allowfortherealizationofitsrightsand demandsforstatehood,even as parallelexpectationson thebroaderArabfrontcontinueto decrease in lightoftheadversarysinitiativedynamics.ARAB OPTIONSThe perenniallegitimacycrisisand personalizedruleoftheArabregimesinevitablyaffecttheirnegotiatingperformanceand conflictmanagementcompetence.BoutrosBoutros-Ghali,a keyfigureinthenegotiationsthatledto theCamp David accords,wroteinhismemoirsthattheEgyptiandelega-tionnotonlydidnotknowhow toprepareforthecomingnegotiations,butdid not even know thegeneralstrategyupon whichto base itsmoves. "Itdallied myhopes thatinspirationwould come to us when we arrivedat
  • 9. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 13Camp David,"he wroteina perhapsunwittingbutdevastatingindictmentoftheEgyptiannegotiatingpattern.33GiventhatSadatwas ata loss as towhatstep to take afterhis visitto Jerusalem,he "put himselfcompletelyintoAmericanhands,"willing"totakeCarterswordthata givenstepwas neces-sary"and unable, unlike the U.S. president,"to separate business fromfriendship."34The resultwas a diplomaticframeworkthatincludednotonlytraditionalnegotiation,mediation,conciliation,and arbitration,butalso thepresumablymoreadvanced methodsofconflictresolutionthatemphasizednotthecontentofthenegotiatingpositionsbuttheprocessofinteraction-confidencebuilding,educationformutualunderstanding,and thepursuitofsuperordinategoals,includingeconomicincentives.35The two overlappingapproachescompromisedcore issues,leadingSadatto sacrificeArabstrate-gicentitlementsinfavorofshort-termEgyptianterritorialand financialgains.The tragedyis thatthePAseemstobe followingthesame patternofcon-cessions, but withoutthe assets and leverage thatEgyptpossessed. ForEgypt,as themostpowerfulArabcountry,could offerthe Israeliside thestrategicconcession of droppingout oftheconflictequation and in returncouldbe rewardedwithterritorialgains(even ifatthecostofa loss ofsover-eigntyand self-respectand diminishedregionalstatus).The CampDavid ac-cords,in otherwords,constitutedthehighpointofthepeace strategythatcould onlybe followedbythereversalofopposites:themorepeace is pur-sued, the fewerthe returns,untila pointis reached where thereare onlynegativeresults,whichiswhatwe arewitnessingtoday.Thisessentiallycon-stitutesthedynamicsofthepeace dialectics.Giventhecurrentsituation,theArabnegotiatorshavethreemainoptions.First,theycan accept whateveris being "offered"or imposed,seekingthebest conditionsunder the circumstances.Second, theycan stallfortime,hopingfora change in circumstancethatwillpermitreversionto theland-for-peaceformula.Finally,theycan transformthenegotiatingrulesbyintro-ducingtheirown formulaand redefiningtheconflictintermsofitsbroaderreligiousandstrategichorizons,whileworkingactivelytowardtheconstruc-tionofnew regionaland systemicalliances.In theshortrun,itis the firstoptionthatappears themostlikelyto beadopted. Mubaraksremarkto Netanyahuthatwar is "an old (fashioned)matter... and willnotsolve anycause"36boils down to a peace-for-peaceformula.EvenwhentheArabLeague raisedthethreatofeconomicboycottfollowingIsraels decision to build a new colony on JabalAbu Ghunaym(HarHoma) inoccupied EastJerusalem,itwas as a "recommendation"ratherthana commitment.BothEgyptandJordandeclinedassociatedcallsfortheArabsto freezetheirnormalizationof relationswithIsrael on thegroundsthattheyweretiedtopeace agreementsthatpreventedthemfromdoingso.Whatevertheiractualpolicies,theArabstatescontinueto callfora returnto land forpeace. This formulainvolvesconditionality,forimplicitin theland-for-peaceconfigurationis a presumedveto:ifno landis returned,therewillbe no peace. Butto whatextentcan theArabscrediblycall forobser-
  • 10. 14 JOURNALOF PALESTINE STUDIESvance oftheformula?TheJune1996ArabsummitinCairoannouncedpeaceas a "strategicchoice." Such a declarationde factorendersland a residualcomponent.Ifneitherwar nor economic and diplomaticsanctionsare op-tions,thentheMadridformula(withitsinherentvetoorconditionality)is inessence dissolved.The summitthuseffectivelyreducedtheformulatopeaceforpeace, inlinewithMubaraksremark.Butnationsthatattempttopresentthemselvesas unfailinglypeacefulcan hope to obtainlittleby way ofsua-sion fromany forcestheymay have.37Nor can the veto capabilitycomefromIslamistbombings:sporadicviolenceisnotthesamethingas warcapa-bilityand can be dealtwithatthelocal securitylevelratherthanwithinthebroadercontextofthe"peace process."In sum,lackingcontrolovertheirconcessionalbehavior,theArabdeci-sion makershave contributedto theeliminationofthesecond optionalto-gethereven whilecontinuingto demanditsimplementation.Thisbeingthecase, theycan onlyact withinthe confinesof an American-Israelisecurityframework,tiltingthe balances heavilyin favorof the firstoption.Netan-yahusintransigenceand disregardforthesignedagreementsdo notmerelyreflecthiscommitmenttohiselectoralpromises,hiscommonsense negotia-tioncalculations,and his firmgraspoftheevolvingsituation;theyare alsoconsistentwithIsraelistrategyand beliefs,albeitwithoutLaborsfinesseandfig-leafoffers.And iftheArabnegotiatorsthemselvesare willingto under-minetheirentitlements,thenitishardlysurprisingthattheiropponenton hisown does notrevertto theless favorablelinkageofland forpeace.THE THIRD OPTIONIn whatamountsto a viciouscircle,capitulationismonlyfuelsbitterness,resentment,and, ultimately,the mobilizationof the forcesof indigenousresistance.Thiscan be expected,even ifinthelong run,to bringforthop-tionthree.The Palestiniancore oftheArab-Israeliconflictobscuredtheunderlyingreligiousand strategicfoundationsofconflictingwills.As long as thefocuswas on thepresumedconfrontationbetweentwo nationalisms,JewishandPalestinian,overthesame piece ofland,thesemoreinherentcontradictionsremainedin thebackground.Butwiththegradualcollapse ofnationalisticjustificationsand withtheissue ofJerusalemcomingto thefore,theArab-Israeli conflictis being reduced to its religiostrategicunderpinnings-alinkage emergingfromthe factthat"a nations interestderivesfromitsidentity."38SinceJerusalemis a religiouscause, theclash overitcannotbe secular-ized-that is,itcannotbecome a solelypoliticalissue.To theextentthatreli-gionis entitlementcategorical,thecitycannotbe theobjectofcompromise.Thisbeing thecase, "peace" outcomesand legalitieswill remainmarginal,applicable in thedomainofpoliticsas long as thecoerciveframeworkthatproducedthemcontinuesin place. In therealmofreligion,however,such
  • 11. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 15constraintsmaynotfunctionas a long-termviable deterrentand indeed aremorelikelytopromoteconflictinsofaras theyfrustratethepursuitofentitle-ments,identity,and basic values.39In theArab/Islamicworld,Islamistgroupsaredrivenmainlybythejusticemotive,whichis value-oriented(entitlement-benefits),whileactorscommit-tedtothe"peace process"tendtobe moreutility-ori-ented (cost-benefits).This poses an acute problemfor the application of Westernconflictresolutionmechanisms in an Islamic context.First,militantIslamistgroupsand Muslimsingeneralcontinue,as amatterof faithand values, to rejectthe enemyirre-spectiveofwhattakesplace atthepoliticallevel.Sec-ond,thecontendingpartiestotheconflictdo notseeanythingin commonwithone another,nor is theredesireto coexist.40Third,while thePalestinianissue is being transformedthroughthepeace strategy,itis also being countertransformedintoa corereligiousprinciple-a substantivechangethatcould foreshadowa futureIs-lamic-Jewishconflict.Whatevertheoutcomeofthe "peace process"in thepoliticaldomain,itis unlikelyto resolvethebroaderconfrontationthatisnow slowlybutominouslytakingshape.Externalmechanismsseekingartificiallytoconstructcommongoals orin-terestsbetween theadversariesdo notapply in thecase ofJerusalemandwould be seen as yetanotherattemptto impose alienstructures.Thisis es-peciallytruewhen conventionalWesternconflictresolutionprinciplesholdthat"peacemaking"isnotpossibleuntilconflictshave "ripened,"thatis,untilcostshave escalatedto thepointwherepartiesarepreparedto settle.41Warmaybe condemned,but"sanctions,punitiveexpeditions,pacifications,pro-tectionof treaties,internationalpolice, and measuresto assure peace re-main."42The harvestin the Arab/Islamicworld is there to see: Egyptprostrateand ineffectual;Syriaisolatedand pressured;Jordan,an American-Israelivassal; Palestinianscantonized;Iraq destroyed;Libyaand Sudan em-bargoed;theArabianpeninsulavirtuallyoccupied; Algeriain the gripof abloodbath;Iranand militantIslamistgroupstobe containedorcrushed.Ontheotherside is a robustJewishstatewitha nuclearcapabilityand militarilyfarmorepowerfulthanall itspotentialadversariescombined.Ithas been saidthatthesecond GulfWarwas an issue-transformingeventthatcaused theArabsto recognize"notonlythattheycould notfightIsraelbutthatmanyofthemhad no interestindoingso."43WhilethemajorityoftheArabpeople-as distinctfromtheirlargelydelegitimizedrulers-maynotsharethisconclusion,itis one thatperception-alteringmechanismsseek toinduce.44Withinsuch a reconstructionoftheregionalorder,SamuelHunt-ingtons"clashofcivilizations"argumentcan be perceivednotsimplyas anintellectualexerciseto be supportedor refutedattheanalyticallevel,butasthetheoreticalcover fora policyin the actualprocess of implementation.Thispolicyattemptsto createtheripeenvironmentalconditionsforthees-Islamist groups are drivenmainly by thejusticemotive,which is value-oriented,while actorscommittedto the peaceprocess" tend to be moreutility-oriented.
  • 12. 16 JOURNALOF PALESTINE STUDIEStablishmentof"peace" whilereconstructingtheMuslimworldand crushinggrass-rootsIslamistgroups.However,to the extentthatIslam is an activevalue thatdeterminesthesubjective(and wherepossible theobjective)na-tureoftheconflict,itconstitutesan organizationalcountermechanismthatwill continueto block the alterationof the conflictstructure.In ArabandMuslimeyes,and despiteAmerican-Israelieffortsto convincethemother-wise, thisconflictis a zero-sumgame,forifAmerican-Israeli"peace" is toconstitutetheregionsnew interest,thiswill requirethetransformationoftheregionsidentity.The factthatIslam ontologicallyis entitlement-driven(focusingon con-tent)whilethe"peace process"epistemologicallyis cost-articulated(focus-ing on process) sets them on incommensurableplanes of interaction.Harmonizingthoughtsystems,however,requiresthattheybe positionedwithinthesame logical framework.45To harmonizethe "thoughtlogic" ofthe Arab/Muslimworld with that of the "peace" strategyrequires thatcounterthoughtsbe peripheralizedand ifnecessarycrushed.Whatisatstakeconsequentlyis no longerthe politico-nationalproblemof usurpationoflandbutrathertheveryextractionofa nationsreligio-nationaland historicalheritage.An Arab negotiatorwhose thoughtis reconstructedwithintheframeworkof his adversarysis essentiallyreduced to a supplicantratherthana counterpart.His willand perceptionsofrealitycontinueto be man-aged and alteredby the opponent,withany settlementlikelyto hingeoncontingentpowerrelations.Hereinliestheessence oftheso-called"civiliza-tionalclash"and itscamouflagedlinkto the"peace process."In focusingon the new Islamic enemy,the UnitedStateshas targetedwhatitcalls "terrorist"groups,aiming,withthe collaborationof clientre-gimesand withvaryingdegrees of success, to neutralizeand marginalizethem.AnyIslamistoppositionalgroup is thusdepicted as a "disturberofpeace . . . [and]designatedto be an outlawofhumanity."46Whileitmaybefeasibleto crushsuchgroupsthroughtheoverwhelmingpower ofthestateand/orexternalassistance,thisdoes not solve theproblemas long as theenvironmentalconditionsleadingto theiremergenceremainin place andregenerate.Nordoes theirsuppressionnecessarilylead to thecontainmentofIslamicdynamism,sincethevitalityofIslamis notconstrainedby,or de-pendentupon, theirexistence.Finally,even thoughmanyofthosegroupscould be (or have been) marginalized,theyneverthelesshave succeeded inscoringa majorstrategicvictoiyby mainstreamingIslam in public lifeandsocietyat large.Islamicsymbolspenetratethesocietyand thepoliticaldis-courseoftheMuslimworldmorethanever,and,ina dialecticalfashion,theretreatofpoliticalIslamhas been accomplishedbytheadvancementofIs-lam as a social condition.47Neutralizingthesesubtleundercurrentswouldrequirenotonlycrushingthemilitants,butin effectsnuffingout thevaluesystemon whichtheirmotivationsare based. In otherwords,the systemwould have to be attackedin itsbasic values and not merelyitspoliticalagenda.
  • 13. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POUTICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 17CONCLUSIONDefiningIslamas thenew enemyafterthecollapse ofcommunismconsti-tutes a strategicdecision foreshadowingthe American-Israeliproject ofredrawingthepoliticalmap oftheArabworld.The expectationamongmanyMuslimsthatthisprojectwilltargetnotonlymarginalizedIslamistgroupsorMuslimregimesbut,morebroadly,mainstreamIslamhas slowlyintroduceda subtlemessianicstreakintotheirconflictperceptionsand contributedtoraisingforebodingsofupcomingapocalypticevents.As theseinterest-identityadverselinkagesbecome increasinglytranspar-ent,and as contiguousArabcountries,especiallyEgypt,graduallyrecognizeonce morethatIsraelis nota threatonlytothePalestinians,theconflictwillcontinueto changein proportionto theintensityofthosefeelings.ThatIs-lamis beingpoliticizedis not,therefore,simplya matterofa religiousdoc-trinethatdoes notallow fortheseparationofreligionand politics,butmorefundamentallya matterofjusticeand strategicconsiderationsas well. In itscalltoarms,Islamisnotaboutviolenceand extremism;rather,itis aboutthelegitimateand unequivocalrighttoself-defense.Threatstosecurity,identity,and religiousvalues cannotbe containedbysuppressionor bymeresettle-mentarrangements.By the same token,the "peace" being offeredis notaboutnegotiationsand cooperationbutaboutthedestructionofvalues.The"peace process"is sayingthatmotivesattheverycore ofhumanneeds willhave to be neutralized.Westernconflictresolutionmechanismsdo not seem well-equipped tocope withtheseunique characteristicsofpresentand futureArab-Israelian-tagonisms.Availabletheoreticalconstructshave externalizedreligiousbe-liefs as determiningcomponents,reducingthem to culturallyalterablevariables.Religiousconvictions,however,and especiallyMuslimviews oftheJewish/Zionistadversary,remainfixedconflictparameters.Conflictthe-orysreactionhas been to rejectsuch factorsas a sourceofcognitivedisso-nanceand todismissreligionas a matterofunwelcomecomplexitythatfallslargelyoutsideitsken.Meanwhile,theseconflicttheorieshave failedto ad-dresscrucialquestionsas to whether"theweak have the rightto make adifferentsetofrulesforthemselves."48Moreimportantly,theyhave failedtocope withtheIsraeli-Palestinianshowdown as one facetof a multidimen-sionalconflictinwhichreligionis a parameter,nota variable.The fearthattheArab/Muslimworldwillgo Islamist"reflectsthefearthatWesternsettle-mentmechanismsdo not and cannotmeetthebasic humanneeds of theregionspeople.NOTES1. JohnBurton,Con,flict:Resolutionand Prevention (London: MacmillanPress Limited,1990), p. 3.2. "PresidentHosni Mubarak:The In-evitabilityof Peace (21 January1989)," inWalterLaqueur and BarryRubin,eds.,The Israeli-ArabReader, 5thed. (NewYork: Penguin Books, 1995), pp. 546-47.3. Edward N. Luttwak,Strategy(Cam-bridge:Belknap Press of HarvardUniver-sityPress, 1987), p. 241.
  • 14. 18 JOURNAL OF PALESTINE STUDIES4. Howard Raiffa,TheArtand ScienceofNegotiation (Cambridge: HarvardUni-versityPress, 1982), p. 215.5. Raimo Vayrynen,ed., New Direc-tions in ConflictTheory(London: SagePublications,1991), pp. 4-5.6. Norman G. Finkelstein,Image andRealityof theIsraeli-Palestinian Conflict(New York: Verso, 1995), p. 237.7. Michael Field,Inside theArabWorld(Cambridge,MA: HarvardUniver-sityPress, 1994), p. 384.8. YehoshafatHarkabi,Arab Strategiesand Israels Response (New York: TheFree Press,1977), p. 103.9. Interview,Newsweek, 23 June 1997,p. 39.10. MelvinJ.Lerner,"The JusticeMo-tivein Human Relations,"in MelvinJ.Ler-ner and SallyC. Lerner,eds., TheJusticeMotive in Social Behavior: Adapting toTimes ofScarcityand Change (NewYork: Plenum Press, 1981), pp. 12-13.11. David A. Welch,Justiceand theGenesis of War (Cambridge,England:CambridgeUniversityPress, 1993), p. 20.12. JohnW. Burton,Global Conflict(London: WheatsheafBooks Ltd.,1984), p.13.13. Michael Handel, Weak States intheInternational System(London: FrankCass, 1981), p. 93.14. Ibid.15. Welch,Justiceand the Genesis ofWar, pp. 20-21.16. Ibid.,p. 20.17. Harkabi,Arab Strategies,p. 88.18. In Reportofa Study Group Con-vened by theAmerican Academy ofArtsand Sciences, itwas proposed that"re-gional waterplans would be an importantcomponent of the bilateraland multilat-eral accords. The opportunityto increaseaccess to waterwould serve as one of theinducementsforIsrael to negotiatesecur-ityaccords withitsneighbors.Projectstobe given highprioritywould include theUnityDam on theYarmouk Riverinvolv-ingJordan,Syriaand Israel,pipelines forwaterfromthe LitaniRiverin Lebanonand fromTurkeyor Egypt,and a jointJordan-Israeldesalinizationplantin Eilat/Aqaba." The reportis in Ann M. Lesch,Transitionto Palestinian Self-Govern-ment (Bloomington:Indiana UniversityPress, 1992), p. 158. Note the pafternofconcessions requiredof the Arabs in or-der forIsrael to accept negotiatingsecur-ityaccords withthem,Israelisecuritybeing paramount.Even beforethe adventof Netanyahu,"securityforpeace" ratherthan"land forpeace" was essentiallywhat was being demanded.19. Howard Goller, WashingtonPost,12 August1997.20. SamarAssad, Los Angeles Times,12 August1997.21. BarrySchweid, WashingtonPost,10 September1997.22. HenryKissinger,Diplomacy (NewYork: Simon and Schuster,1994), pp. 467and 488.23. See furtherGlenn E. Robinson,"The GrowingAuthoritarianismof theArafatRegime,"Survival 39, no. 2 (Sum-mer 1997), 54.24. Ibid., 45.25. ChesterL. Karrass,The NegotiatingGame (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell,1970), pp. 17-19.26. OtomarJ.Bartos,"SimpleModelof Negotiation"in I. WilliamZartman,ed.,The Negotiation Process (London: SagePublications,1978), p. 22.27. Kayhan al-Arabi, 17 March 1998,p. 11.28. I. WilliamZartman,"Negotiationasa JointDecision-MakingProcess," inZartman,ed., The Negotiation Process,pp.76-77.29. Accordingto Benjamin Netanyahu,YitzhakRabin,the assassinated Laborpartyleader and formerprimeminister,"was vely clear thattherewere no limita-tionswhatsoeveron Israeli constructioninJerusalem.Rabin was the one who au-thorizedthe buildingof Har Homa (JabalGhoneim settlement),"Interview,News-week, 23 June 1997, p. 39.30. Commentingon the result,andperhaps justifyingNetanyahuspositionand his own call forredesigningthe Osloagreements,Kissingerstatedthatanyanalogy to the earlystages of the peaceprocess was illusory.As he put it "intheearliernegotiation,step-by-stepprogressrelieved tensionsand builtconfidence.On theWest Bank, the opposite was thecase. Both sides had jumped intothepeace process withouthaving clarifiedworkable objectives and expected towrestthatclarityfromthe process itself.Instead,ithas compounded theirperplex-ities.This was no accident.Clearly,Arafatwas led to believe by Israeli,Americanand European interlocutorsthatthe final
  • 15. THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE POLITICS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION 19destinationwas at least the 67 bordersand recognitionof a Palestinianstate-hood. But thatignoredthevast differencein the negotiationsbetween Israel and thePLO compared withthose between Israeland the neighboringArab states." HentyKissinger,"The Oslo Piecemeal Process,"WashingtonPost, 24 August1997.31. As quoted by Noam Chomsky,"EasternExposure: MisrepresentingthePeace Process," Village Voice, 6 February1996,p. 6.32. Carl Schmitt,The Concept of thePolitical, trans. George Schwab (NewBrunswick:RutgersUniversityPress,1976),p. 49.33. Boutros Boutros-Ghali,Tariq Misrila al-Quds [Egyptsroad to Jerusalem],(Cairo: Al-AhramCenterforTranslationand Publication,1997), p. 137. Authorstranslation.34. RaymondCohen, NegotiatingAcrossCultures(Washington,D.C.: UnitedStatesInstituteof Peace Press, 1995), pp.55-56. On the Egyptian-U.S.relationship,Cohen writes(p. 56) thatrarely"can a pa-tron-clientrelationshiphave achievedsuch pronounced expression."35. Luc Reychler,"The Artof ConflictPrevention:Theoryand Practice,"in Wer-ner Bauwens and Luc Reychler,ed., TheArtofConfflictPrevention (London:Brasseys,1994), pp. 5-7. See also RogerFisherand WilliamUry,Gettingto Yes(New York: Penguin Books, 1983), as arepresentativeof the HarvardNegotia-tionsProject.36. InterviewwithHusni Mubarak.Al-Hawadeth, 21-27 February1997, p. 21.37. Luttwak,Strategy,p. 194.38. Samuel P. Huntington,"The Ero-sion ofAmericanNational Interests,"For-eign Affairs5,no. 75 (Sept.-Oct. 1997), p.1.39. Burton,Global Conflict,pp.137-38.40. Mohammed Abu-Nimer,"ConflictResolutionin an Islamic Context,"Peaceand Change 21, no. 1 (January1996), pp.33-34.41. Burton,Conflict.Resolution andPrevention,p. 88.42. Schmitt,The Concept of thePolit-ical, p. 79.43. Field,Inside theArab World,p.385. Emphasis added.44. Commentingon several polls intheArabworld relatedto thismatter,Ed-ward Said observed: "In evetyinstancepublic opinion has in factexpressed noenthusiasmfornormalizationwithIsrael.On mass level thissuggeststhatthe senseof defeatis not quite as widespread andprostrateas officialpolicy and the logicof capitulationistintellectualswould haveus believe." See his Peace and itsDiscon-tents(New York: VintageBooks, 1995), p.134.45. Burton,Conflict.Resolution andPrevention,p. 89.46. Schmitt,The Concept of thePolit-ical, p. 79.47. OlivierRoy, The Failure ofPolit-ical Islam, trans.Carol Volk (Cambridge:HarvardUniversityPress, 1994), p. 78.48. George Orwell,A CollectionofEs-says (New York: Harcourt,1981), p. 40.