The author is a professional mediator and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law. In the summer of 2001, he spent nine weeks teaching Arab and Jewish Israeli graduate student’s negotiation, mediation and conflict management, and offered workshops in multi-party, multi-issue dispute resolution to the Israeli Ministry of Justice. He has also taught conflict resolution skills to participants from 15 different countries including workshops in Bosnia and Herzegovina, England, and Italy.
In this article, Jonathan Reitman explores the issues which must be addressed if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the most volatile symbol of the division between the worlds of Islam and the West—is to be moved from its current stalemate. Grounding his discussion in the “two-state” policy now favored by the United States and major players in the Middle East, Reitman lays out 10 principles which should guide any comprehensive settlement to discussions and which could form the basis of a durable agreement. Reitman’s first principle calls for expanding the negotiating teams to include other countries with influence and interests in the region. Other principles include dealing with water resources in an innovative and just way; teaching today’s Israeli and Palestinian students from a curriculum that acknowledges differences; and supporting local religious leaders who promote interfaith dialogue and religious values to create a transcendent vision for peace.