Dialogues without narratives: The "London Talks" of the negotiation for the Geneva Initiative

Yuval Benziman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The study analyzes film recordings of the discussions held between Israeli and Palestinian participants negotiating in order to finalize the "Geneva Initiative" during three days in 2003. The analysis does not support the popular notion in the study of conflicts which claims that in order for rival sides to reach agreements they must deal with their deep historical narratives. On the contrary, it is shown that in these talks the decision not to touch narrative aspects of the conflict was the key component that enabled the sides to create a fruitful dialogue aimed at reaching a proposal for a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. By deciding to supposedly talk about everything and ensuring a dialogue in which everyone could speak on any issue, and at the same time framing the dialogue in a way that avoided dealing with historical, identity and narrative perceptions of the conflict, the sides were able to make progress toward reaching an agreement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)76-94
Number of pages19
JournalDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict: Pathways toward Terrorism and Genocide
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Geneva Initiative
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • dialogue
  • narrative
  • track two diplomacy


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