Rules for Negotiating in a Bazaar
By Ted Belman
Israel Hayom reports, Netanyahu: Peace with Palestinians necessary to avoid binational state. That’s right. Bibi said that he wants to avoid a binational state and thus must give up land.
“I am prepared to resume negotiations immediately. My interest is what’s good for Israel, and I have no desire to head toward a binational state, a situation I oppose. I’ve offered compromises in the past, compromises whose meaning is a relinquishing of land. For as long as it depends on me, we will ensure the Jewish and democratic character of Israel.”
The is the argument from the left and Bibi is repeating it. The right says that we can reject a two state solution without ending up with a binational state.
It gets worse. Bibi told a press conference;
“There have been five prime ministers before me who offered proposals that the Palestinians have rejected. I am the sixth. The Palestinians and Mahmoud Abbas are not prepared to agree to even the most minimal of compromises,”
I shudder to think that he sees himself as one of the failed Prime Ministers who made an offer. But he does so while acknowledging that the PA is not prepared to compromise.
The only proper stance to take is also refusing to compromise.
Moshe Sharon in his brilliant A Short Guide for Those Obsessed with Peace he writes
In Middle Eastern bazaar diplomacy, agreements are kept not because they are signed but because they are imposed. Besides, in the bazaar of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the two sides are not discussing the same merchandize. The Israelis wish to acquire peace based on the Arab-Muslim acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. The objective of the Arabs is to annihilate the Jewish state, replace it with an Arab state, and get rid of the Jews.
To achieve their goal, the Arabs took to the battlefield and to the bazaar diplomacy. The most important rule in the bazaar is that if the vendor knows that you desire to purchase a certain piece of merchandize, he will raise its price. The merchandize in question is “peace” and the Arabs give the impression that they actually have this merchandize and inflate its price, when in truth they do not have it at all.
This is the wisdom of the bazaar, if you are clever enough you can sell nothing at a price. The Arabs sell words, they sign agreements, and they trade with vague promises, but are sure to receive generous down payments from eager buyers. In the bazaar only a foolish buyer pays for something he has never seen.
There is another rule in the market as well as across the negotiating table: the side that first presents his terms is bound to loose; the other side builds his next move using the open cards of his opponent as the starting point.
Bibi goes further,
Our prime ministers never seem to learn these simple rules.