Middle East Peace Negotiations: There and Back Again

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

As Hamas and other groups in Gaza continue to launch rockets into Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces bomb Gaza in turn, it's hard to remember that there have been moments of reconciliation, and promises of peace, between Arabs and Israelis.

American leaders have often taken the lead in these negotiations. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski helped negotiate the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. Israel agreed to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in exchange for peace and security. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords on March 26, 1979.

Prime Minister Begin proclaimed, "Now it is time for all of us to show civil courage, in order to proclaim to our people and to others: no more war, no more bloodshed, no more bereavement, peace unto you. Shalom, salam, forever." President Sadat spoke similar words: "Let there be no war or bloodshed between Arabs and Israelis. Let there be no more suffering or denial of rights. Let there be no more despair or loss of faith. Let no mother lament the loss of her child."

President Bill Clinton took the lead in negotiating the Oslo Accords between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. President Clinton realized the significance of the occasion. As the leaders gathered to sign the second Oslo agreement, Clinton said: "Today we make a great stride for the fulfillment of a vision toward the day when two peoples divided by generations, by conflict, are bound now by peace. Finally, the time is approaching when there will be safety in Israel's house, when the Palestinian people will write their own destiny, when the clash of arms will be banished from God's Holy Land."

William Quandt served as a staff member on the National Security Council under Presidents Nixon and Carter, and helped negotiate the Camp David Accords. He is now a professor of politics at the University of Virginia.

Robert Malley served as President Clinton's special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs, and worked in President Clinton's National Security Council during the Oslo Accords. Today, Robert is a program director at the International Crisis Group. William and Robert discuss their experiences with the Arab-Israeli peace process, and what might be necessary for peace negotiations in the Middle East today.

Itamar Rabinovich was the Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 1993 to 1996.


Robert Malley, William Quandt and Itamar Rabinovich

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [3]

Father Paul Mayer from East Orange, NJ 07017

Good try,Todd, but an unbalance presentation.Not a word about a a story that is all over the Israeli media.
Eg Haaretz Nov15 by Nir Hasson Headline:
" Israeli Peace Activist: Hamas leader Jabril killed amidst talks on long term truce.
Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel & Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit ( Israeli soldier), says Israel made a mistake that will cost the lives of " innocent people on both sides."
Not up to the high standards of The Take Away. It is an example of what sometimes makes it difficult for me to contributes to NPR.
A fan of the Take Away.
Fr. Paul

Nov. 20 2012 04:13 PM
Ellen Davidson

How can you be 10 minutes into your story and I haven't heard one word about the crippling illegal siege of Gaza that Israel has been imposing for years? All parties except the U.S. and its blind mainstream media agree that that is the root of the problem. Address that, and you might get a lasting ceasefire.

Nov. 20 2012 03:17 PM
no name

Your show didn't make sense. Your guests discussed negotiations from the point of view of how do you get negotiations going w/the Palestinians and raised the question of whether the US & israel should be in contact w/hamas.

Come on!! First, of course, the US & israel have been in so-called negotiations w/the PLO for ~20 years and achieved nothing. Isn't that a clue? In fact, there are several: first, that perhaps the Palestinian election that hamas won with over 60% means something and the US should be negotiating with the real rep of the Palesttinian people even if the PLO is more willing to sell out the Palestinians. Second, perhaps finding someone to negotiate with is not the problem; perhaps the problem is that israel is not, and never has been, willing to enter into negotiations over the legitmate rights of the Plaestinian people.

Nov. 20 2012 11:33 AM

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