The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine


So far, all the efforts of the United States and other to cajole the Israelis and the Palestinians to enter into a peace treaty have been unsuccessful. In this seven week SDG, we will examine the mindsets of the parties to the conflict.  We will explore whether they really want peace, what are the costs of peace for each of the parties, and if they don't want peace, what are their real objectives. If the parties don't want peace, is external pressure (force) the only thing that may resolve the Israeli - Palestinian conflict?

Our core book was written by Senator George Mitchell who served as a special envoy for Middle East peace from 2009 to 2011.  Senator Mitchell is intimately familiar with the positions of both sides and gives an insider account of how the negotiations between the parties have progressed and regressed through the years.

Weekly Topics

1. The history of the Conflict (Ch. 2)

2. Moving in the opposite directions (Ch. 1, 3)

3. From Madrid to Camp David (Ch. 4)

4. Contested Issues (Ch. 5, 6).

5. Much process, no progress (Ch. 8)

6. Israstine, annexation? (Ch. 9), more up to date material will be provided at pre-meeting.

7. Is there a path to peace (Ch. 10), 


George J. Mitchell, A Path to Peace: A brief History of the Israeli Palestinian Negotiations a d a Way Forward in the Middle East (2017)

Additional bibliography: