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Playing the hard man

24 April 2011

4:49 PM

24 April 2011

4:49 PM

Easter/Pesach is always a good time to be at the Jewish Chronicle with all the combined
holidays. This year it is all the more congenial now the Pope has been so kind as to absolve the Jews of blame for the death of Christ. A time for reflection, perhaps, and a reassessment of
history. I am still mulling over the peace process simulation I took part in earlier this month, playing the role of Jibril Rajoub, the PLO enforcer. You can read my account the event here.

My "Palestinian" delegation was led by Saeb Erekat as played by Jonathan Freedland, who also wrote about his experience.

We took away different things from the simulation, but we both agreed that the very structure of the negotiations led personal ego and the desire to "win" to dominate proceedings. It
made me wonder whether the conventions of international negotiation need to be rethought if any progress is ever to be made. Two sets of alpha males sitting opposite each other around a table
strikes me as all very 20th century.

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Show comments
  • Matt

    Very interesting stuff!

  • Patricia Shaw

    We await your more considered thought or two about the palestinian reconciliation, and not the predictable Yiddish refrain evidenced by ‘War at all Costs’ Mel.

  • Charles

    I thought that parallel track negotiations were now pretty much the norm these days for this sort of discussion?

  • Merlyn

    Perhaps we should leave it to the women to negotiate peace treaties.

  • Alan Scott

    The “alpha males” bit sounds a lot earlier than the 20C to me.

  • John Montague

    Sounds fascinating. Maybe Melanie should try it.

  • Jeremy

    Martin Bright:

    ‘…we both agreed that the very structure of the negotiations led personal ego and the desire to “win” to dominate proceedings. It made me wonder whether the conventions of international negotiation need to be rethought if any progress is ever to be made.’

    You make a good point.

    It might be worth consulting a social scientist/psychologist to find out what the least confrontational form for a meeting actually is, and then comparing it with your own experience.

    One would have thought that for something as important and as delicate as the “peace process”, these sorts of considerations would already have been explored and the findings implemented. But then again – as you suggest – perhaps not…

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