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Can private citizens serve as self-appointed peacemakers and influence diplomatic relations between parties to a conflict? The book analyzes the international phenomenon of private peace entrepreneurs (PPEs) – private citizens with no official authority who initiate channels of communication with official representatives from the other side of a conflict in order to promote a conflict resolution process. It combines theoretical discussion with historical analysis, examining four cases from different conflicts: Norman Cousins and Suzanne Massie in the Cold War, Brendan Duddy in the Northern Ireland conflict, and Uri Avnery in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The book defines the phenomenon, examines the resources and activities of private peace entrepreneurs and their impact on the official diplomacy, and explores the conditions under which they can play an effective role in peacemaking processes.
The book highlights the ability of private individual citizens – who are not politicians, diplomats, or military leaders – to operate as influential actors in international politics in general, and in peace processes in particular. Although the history of internal and international conflicts reveals many cases of private peace entrepreneurs, some of whom played a critical role in conflict resolution efforts, the literature has yet to give this important phenomenon the attention it deserves. The book aims to fill this gap, contributing to the scholarship on conflict and peace, diplomacy, and civil society. It also makes a historiographical contribution by shedding light on figures excluded from the history textbooks, and it offers an alternative perspective to traditional narratives concerning the diplomatic history of the conflicts.
The chapter analyzes the fourth case study: Uri Avnery, editor of the weekly Haolam Hazeh, a Knesset member, and a peace activist. Avnery was an Israeli PPE who established and maintained contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the 1970s and 1980s. The analysis extends from Avnery’s first unofficial diplomatic activity in the 1950s and his first contact with PLO official Said Hammami in 1975, through the establishment of a channel between the Israeli Council for Israeli–Palestinian Peace members and Issam Sartawi and other PLO members, to Avnery’s direct dialogue with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat in the early 1980s. The chapter also discusses how Avnery used his news magazine as a tool in his peace efforts.
The chapter analyzes the third case study: Brendan Duddy, a businessman from Derry, Northern Ireland. Duddy served as an intermediary between the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and the British government at various times between 1973 and 1993. The analysis focuses on three stages in Duddy’s efforts: the backchannel that Duddy established and led during the PIRA truce (1975), Duddy’s mediation initiatives during the first (1980) and the second (1981) Republican prisoners’ hunger strikes, and the revival of Duddy’s channel in 1990–1993 for clandestine negotiations on conditions for direct official negotiations between the British government and the Republican leadership.
This chapter outlines the theoretical framework of the private peace entrepreneur phenomenon and offers a toolkit to discuss and analyze PPEs’ characteristics, activities, and impact. The first part presents a typology of PPEs, outlining their resources, types, and action patterns; the official establishment’s attitude towards PPEs; and critical arguments against their activities. The second part examines PPEs’ impact on the official diplomatic sphere, identifies their influence patterns, and suggests an analytical framework that distinguishes among variables: those related to the PPEs, those related to their peace initiative, and those that are external.
The chapter analyzes the first case study: Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review and co-chairman of the non-governmental organization SANE. Cousins was an American PPE who established communication channels with Soviet leaders, including Nikita Khrushchev, and took part in efforts to promote the nuclear test ban negotiations (1962–1963). The analysis addresses Cousins’s role in establishing the Dartmouth dialogue conferences, his meetings with Khrushchev and Kennedy, a proposal he made that served as a basis for Kennedy’s American University speech, and his public activity to secure support for the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The chapter analyzes the second case study: Suzanne Massie – an American writer and expert on Russian culture and history, who developed contacts with officials in Washington and Moscow, and worked to promote dialogue and improve relations between the countries. This chapter examines the activity and influence of Suzanne Massie as a PPE during the years 1983–1988. It explores her relations with both sides, which included frequent visits to the Soviet Union and meetings with US president Ronald Reagan.
This chapter presents a concluding discussion on the PPEs’ activity and their impact, building on the proposed theoretical framework and the empirical comparative analysis of the four main case studies, alongside the other cases from the broad database. In order to examine the question of the PPEs’ impact, the chapter first analyzes which influence patterns were evident in the PPEs’ activity and which of these were most prevalent and effective. It then examines the impact of variables at three levels: variables related to the PPE, variables related to the initiative, and external variables. The next part analyzes other questions that arise from the research regarding various aspects of the PPE phenomenon: the personality profile of the PPEs, their social characteristics, the risk of misperception and misunderstandings in their activity, PPEs as a historical phenomenon, and the potential of the study’s proposed framework as a basis for future research.
The chapter presents a definition of the private peace entrepreneur, and positions the phenomenon within current theoretical literature, discusses its contribution to various fields, and describes the similarities and differences between the PPEs and other theoretical frameworks and actors. It then presents the research questions and the methodology, and outlines the structure of the book.