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The first offer is the best offer in negotiations

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A small meeting was held last Friday at the Japan Arab Association for its 171st issue of The Arab Quarterly magazine. The association, established in 1958, is one of the oldest private entities in Japan to promote friendship with the Arab countries as well as to contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East. All the editors involved in the publication agreed that the next issue would feature the moribund Middle East peace process.

Everyone knew that the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” would not resolve the long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians over the control of the Holy Land. At the meeting, this author, a veteran of the so-called Oslo process in the 1990s, reminded the editors of the lessons of the negotiations to solve the Palestinian issue.

In many serious negotiations, the first offer is the best offer and the Palestinians failed to seize a golden opportunity in 2000. History is often made by the assassinations of such brave statesmen as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat, however, was just a politician, not a statesman.

What’s worrying is that many young Japanese may not even be familiar with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which urged Israel to “withdraw from territories” it occupied in 1967. Nobody talks about the Camp David and Oslo Accords anymore, and the issue of the magazine needs to cover the facts for the record.

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© The Japan Times