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When we look at the Arab-Israeli conflict, we have to distinguish between two levels: the interstate conflict between Israel and the Arab states and the intra-communal conflict meaningthe conflict between the two peoples. The Oslo process brought the conflict to the intra-communal level of the 1920's, to the question of how two people can live together. The war of 1967 had been an interstate conflict; for example, Security Council Resolution 242 mentions the Palestinian people only as a refugee problem, and otherwise focuses on states, borders, etc.-, which actually was the reason for its rejection by the Palestinians at that time. In the Oslo process, the major issue was the communal problem, the search for a solution to the problem of how Israelis and Palestinians can live together. A question I would like to ask is whether you can have negotiations in a situation of unequal power like the one between the Palestinians and the Israelis. I have learned in diplomacy, there is!
a need for the acceptance of fundamental norms and of the "other" as an equal partner (The Art of Diplomacy, Hobeika, 1984). These norms are generally observed because they are useful to all the states; they exist because states have a common interest in a well-functioning diplomatic system. In negotiations, the condition is the rational desire of both parties to reach an outcome together. The question is if the system can function in an unequal power relationship. World mediators feel that the stronger power would impose its rules and dominate the negotiations. They accepted the idea that in order for parties to get to the negotiation table, there is a need for a common interest, such as peace. They remarked, however, that in order for negotiations to be successful, there is a need for equality, or at least the genuine acceptance of a peaceful approach to conflict resolution and recognition of the other side (The Science of Negotiating, Neiami…

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