U.S. Secretary of State essay

The application of mutual gains approach to negotiating envisages that the negotiators recognize that all parties to the negotiation have legitimate interests that have to be met in the process of negotiation. It also presupposes that negotiation should serve to build trust in both parties and make them listen to each other in order to improve this trust. The orientation should be toward problem solving, and tactics should involve collaborations.

In case of suicide bombings in the Middle East, for instance, those used by Palestinians in their fight against Israel, there should be an understanding on the part of both sides that others have their own legitimate interests. The parties to the talks should be the Israeli government and the leaders of terrorist groups, in particular because it is they who are responsible for bombings and not the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. It is hard to admit that armed groupings can have recognizable interests, but it seems that it is the only possible way to deal with the situation.

The starting point can be finding the decisions that are mutually acceptable to both parties. Israel, for example, can consider increases in financial aid to Palestinian areas and improvements in infrastructure such as water pipelines in exchange for an end to bombings. The groups responsible for bombings should, on the other hand, deliver reliable promises that they will not violate their promise to stop bombings. The focus should on a solution that will deliver gains to both parties, and not just one of them.

Parties should be encouraged to come up with their own proposals to give the other party something in return for fulfilling their expectations. In this way, peace in the Middle East can be promoted only through understanding that it can be established only if a win-win solution is found. Negotiations would have to begin with the two leaders of the nations who are doing the bombing. I would have to play mediator between the leaders of Palestine and Israel and try to come up with a practical solution for both countries.

Then the intervention would have to flow down to the groups who are executing the bombings. The key to the success of this intervention will be respect for contrasting viewpoints; without respect, the conflict will go unsolved. If there can be a compromise, each side will be able to worry less about suicide bombings and more about the people in their own countries.


Oregon State University. (n. d. ). Mutual Gain Negotiation (Integrative/Collaborative). Retrieved August 17, 2006, from http://oregonstate. edu/instruct/comm440-540/mutualgainbarg. htm