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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 116

Minding the Gaps: Territorial Issues in Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking

Michael Herzog

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December 2011

The past two-and-a-half years have witnessed a string of failed efforts to launch substantive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and, more recently, heated controversy surrounding President Obama's baseline formula for compromise. This sad story reflects, among other things, the deep divide between the two sides on the supposedly "easier" issues of territory and borders -- a gap that is far wider than many observers believe.

In this report, former senior Israeli military official and negotiator Michael Herzog dissects the parties' differing positions on these issues as expressed in bilateral talks over the years. Through sober analysis and detailed maps, he shows why bridging these differences will require a clear, realistic understanding of the prospects for near-term progress, as well as strong resolve and leadership on both sides.


Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog, IDF (Ret.), is an Israel-based Milton Fine international fellow with The Washington Institute. In addition to serving as head of the Israel Defense Forces Strategic Planning Division and chief of staff to the minister of defense, he was personally involved in all of Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians from 1993 to 2010. In that capacity, he prepared the Israeli maps related to the 2000 Camp David summit and served as special emissary to the prime minister and defense minister during efforts to relaunch bilateral negotiations between June 2009 and March 2010.

  • 22 pages