Jeremy Pressman
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Missed diplomatic opportunities
in The sword is not enough
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The flipside of thinking military force is the best policy tool available to achieve national aims has often been the notion that negotiations and concessions are an inferior means, one that signals weakness and leads to being taken advantage of by one’s rival. In addition, structures of violence and coercion exert themselves, thereby undermining or leading to the premature closure of negotiating opportunities. In short, ideas and institutions combine to undermine diplomatic pathways. If a government or organization really have wanted to try to change the direction of Arab–Israeli or Israeli–Palestinian relations by de-emphasizing the reliance on military force, violence, and coercion, there were numerous moments that could have been creatively built upon to effect change. Case studies of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s ten-point programme in 1974, the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002, and Israel’s disengagement in 2005 illustrate missed opportunities and some of the muddled signals that go along with those moments.

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The sword is not enough

Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force


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