Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Jerusalem Post simulates Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (sort of)

While it doesn’t seem to have been much of a simulation—only a few were involved, all from a similar background, and judging from the comment that “the simulation could have carried on for hours” it sounds like it didn’t go on very long indeed. After all, in the Middle East even normal conversations on the peace process can go on for hours.

Nonetheless, on Sunday the Jerusalem Post organized a “simulation” of the impending Israeli-Palestinian direct peace negotiations:

Simulators attempt to gauge peace talks

Role-playing ex-generals convened by ‘Post’ agree Obama is key.


Jerusalem Post, 30 August 2010

How will the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, slated to kick off at a festive summit in Washington on Wednesday, end?

If a simulation game played on Sunday by a group of former IDF brass is any guide, the chances for success are not great and the key ultimately rests in the hands of one man – US President Barack Obama.

The Jerusalem Post convened on Sunday a group of former top IDF officers currently affiliated with the Council for Security and Peace, an association of national security experts, to play the roles of key players in the peace process and examine what the chances are for success or failure.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brom, a former deputy head of the National Security Council, played the role of Obama; the council president, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nati Sharoni, played Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; retired Col. Shaul Arieli, head of the peace administration (its mandate was to produce working papers on permanent-status issues and act as something of a database for the negotiators) under Ehud Barak during the Camp David talks in 2000, played the role of PA President Mahmoud Abbas; and Brig.- Gen. (res.) Gadi Zohar, former head of the IDF’s civil administration in the West Bank, played the Arab world, primarily Egypt and Jordan, whose leaders will be present at Wednesday’s summit.

The two main conclusions from the simulation were first, that the level of mistrust between Israel and the PA is deep and profound, serving as an obstacle in and of itself without even considering the domestic political challenges each side faces….

As for me, I’m profoundly pessimistic about the prospects for the talks too, not necessarily for all of the same reasons—but that’s another issue.

One response to “Jerusalem Post simulates Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (sort of)

  1. Harald Korneliussen 05/11/2010 at 12:01 pm

    I’m annoyed at the foolishness of such projects. Whether the level of mistrust is deep or not, will in a game context depend solely on how the rules are defined.

    And as for roleplaying, my experience is that pax-sims are great at convincing particpants that they understand the other side’s concerns better than they really do.

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