Here is a different quartet addressing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations — not the EU, Russia, the United Nations, and the United States, but William Quandt, Omar Dajani, Aharon Klieman, and Tamara Wittes. Quandt sets out in chronological order 12 different Israeli-Palestinian démarches, from the 1988 Palestinian acceptance of UN Resolution 242 to the Taba talks of January 2001. Dajani discusses the mindset that Palestinians brought to these negotiations, and then Klieman does the same for the Israelis. In a concluding chapter, Wittes sums up the findings and offers useful "lessons for negotiators." This slender book deserves a robust reading. By honing in on the ideas and assumptions that the parties bring to the table, the authors have transcended the blame game. It is refreshing to find the most telling critique of the Palestinian performance penned by Dajani, and of the Israeli one by Klieman. All the contributors illuminate how a nation's history, imagined history, self-image, and image of the Other create a distinctive approach to negotiations. One can still argue that the failure to produce a settlement in 2000, for example, lies with (A)rafat or (B)arak or (C)linton, but this book shows that all parties negotiated very much as was to be expected — which in turn evokes a few poignant "if only" musings.
Tamara Cofman Wittes comes to us from the Middle East Institute, where she was director of programs from June 2000 to December 2002. In that position, she developed and ran programs examining politics, culture and society in the region, from Morocco to Pakistan. A specialist on the Arab-Israeli peace process, Wittes has undertaken research projects exploring confidence-building within that process, challenges to reform in Syria and the role of ethnic diasporas in conflict resolution. Wittes' work has been published in Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Notes, National Security Studies Quarterly and other publications. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Women in International Security, Wittes often provides expert commentary and analysis for CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC and other news outlets. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.