Mr. Mitchell made some interesting comments about conflict resolution--regardless of one's view of the situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority--and I'd like your comments.
The tone was positive and determined. The President made clear his commitment to moving forward, and the leaders shared that commitment.Q: What is the importance of having initial commitments to the success of resolving conflict? How do you achieve these initial commitments?
The President told them that we cannot restart talks from scratch. That said, neither side should hold out for the perfect formula. Painful compromise by all will be necessary. This was a message that the President conveyed to each of the leaders in private as well.
Q: What are the advantages of reminding parties where they have been? And the advantages or disadvantages of taking a firm position, such as talks cannot be restarted from scratch? How do you deliver the message that "painful compromise" may be necessary to resolve a dispute?
So yes, we haven’t gotten everything we wanted, we haven’t gotten it as fast as we want it. But in conflict resolution, if one adopts the standard that one must always get 100 percent of what one seeks at every stage of the process, otherwise you’re failure, well, then of course, there would never ever be a resolution of any conflict. Painful compromises are necessary for everybody. So we are determined to proceed. We will not be deterred by – I don’t want to say accusations, but criticisms, by descriptions of failure. We believe that we are doing the right thing. We believe we have made substantial progress and we intend to continue with full determination until there is comprehensive peace in the region.
Q: Often during negotiations, one of the parties will say "we're not making any progress, we're out of here." How do you keep parties at the table during times when seemingly no progress is being made? How do you educate parties to a negotiation that resolving conflict is process, often times not a quick one?