This concept refers to a dynamic set of circumstances in the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations which lead to an inability to break away from negotiations but a simultaneous inability to conclude an agreement.
The concept Quagmire Effect of Negotiations refers to a dynamic set of circumstances in the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations which lead to:
Inability to breakaway from the process due to internal or external pressures; and
Inability to conclude an agreement.
The Quagmire Effect of Negotiations may cause Israel, in certain instances when dealing with the Palestinians, to consider utilizing:
Characteristics of the Quagmire Effect:
Expansion of the Negotiating Agenda – As an agreement on issues seems to be in sight, Palestinians raise additional issues for discussion.
Escalation of Claims – The setting of impossible conditions before entering into negotiations, or the raising of the level of Palestinian demands during the course of negotiations.
Prolonging of Negotiations (for tactical purposes) – The extension of the duration of negotiations by the Palestinians past the previously agreed upon timeframe, to a period close to Israeli elections in order to elicit additional Israeli concessions.
Violence and Strategic Terror – Periods of increased terror leading up to central milestones in the political process with the intention of weakening it.
Causes of the Quagmire Effect – A number of causes exist for the Quagmire Effect of negotiations, including:
Mismatch of Tenures – A discrepancy between the duration and stability of tenures of the Israeli and Palestinian top executives engaged in negotiations;1 Leverage of Time – Within the Israeli-Palestinian system, demographic trends grant the Palestinians an exogenous time lever.
One determinant of a Partner is a political entity that has the Delivery Capability – i.e., Carrying Capacity and Responsibility – to fulfill their portion of an agreement:
Palestinian Carrying Capacity – Palestinian negotiators are constrained by the need to appease all factions within the Palestinian community. This hinders their ability to offer concessions during negotiations.2
Instability of Israeli Political System – The effectiveness of Israeli decision-making is dependent upon the ability of the Prime Minister to build stable coalitions within the Knesset. The Israeli political system is traditionally characterized by volatility and high turn-over of governments making Israeli politics one of the most unstable in the democratic world.
Mismatch of Legal-Status – Asymmetric relations between sub-state organizations (PA and the PLO) and a state (Israel) are not fully incorporated into international law.
1 Though the Israeli political system remains unstable and governmental coalitions remain susceptible to collapse, it is still not clear how the death of Arafat (11/04) and the realignment of the Palestinian political system influence the Mismatch of Tenures.