The issues all resulted from Israel’s stunning victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Nasser was the poster child for overconfidence bias.

The Six-Day War proves that ambush, attack by surprise, killing the enemy when they sleep, is a tactic that can decide the game (cf. Pearl Harbor where the ambush gave the Japanese a temporary tactical advantage but did not decide the game).

The history of Jerusalem is the history of the importance humans place on symbolism, particularly religious symbolism.

A one-sided result only sows the seeds of dissent (cf. US Civil War).

Israel’s dominance caused Arab nations to be more resolved in their opposition.


No meetings today – the US spends the day drafting its proposal.

Carter’s typical method of dispute resolution: he decides what is right and tries to manipulate the parties to that position.

Carter has his team prepare a “mediator’s proposal.”

Enter Roger Fisher, an old friend of Vance.

Vance utilizes Fisher’s one-text method of dispute resolution.

Carter’s typical approach to dispute resolution: “He would outline in advance what he thought would be a fair settlement and then try to bend each side toward his position.” This could be described as an “evaluative” approach; others might call it “autocratic.”

“Putting all of this on paper caused the American team to focus on what was really important or realistic to achieve at the summit.”

Lesson: Putting proposals in writing is important in the dispute resolution process; the earlier in the process, the better.

Carter then did something interesting. Rather than using the “one-text method,” he prepared two proposed agreements.

One agreement would be the “Egyptian-Israeli agreement”; the other would be the “West Bank/Gaza agreement.”

The positions on the West Bank and Gaza were convoluted, and, being from Georgia, Jimmy knew a tar baby when he saw one.

Both Begin and Sadat became restless, felt trapped.

Lesson: If a mediator does not keep things moving, the disputants will start moving toward the exits.

Weizman, who had previously established rapport with Sadat, did something really cool. He set off on his bicycle to find Sadat and request a private conference later in the day.

Lesson: This, children, is what is commonly known as a “back channel.”

Students of the October missile crisis know that the Kennedys used a back channel extensively in negotiating the new nukes in Cuba.

Weizman meets with Sadat and frames the issues as “psychological” instead of “practical.”

Lesson: Be proactive (and bicycles are a nice touch).

Weizman proposes that Egypt keep the Sinai but the settlements stay in place!

This sounds like a huge move.

Sadat flinches.

Lesson: Master negotiators flinch a lot.

Weizman’s counter-move: “What do you want to achieve here?”

Sadat: “I want to reach an agreement on framework.”

Weizman’s comment (the best definition of face saving ever): “He may have climbed too far up on his high horse, in which case he would need an American ladder to help him down.”

There is some interesting conflict within the Egyptian team.

They enlist Boutros-Ghali to distract Tohamy, Sadat’s Rasputin.

Then, and I love this part about Day 5 the most: there is a chess match.

Brzezinski plays Begin: two Poles, one of feudal lord lineage and one a Jew.

A four game match, Begin wins 3-1.

Did Brzezinski throw the match as a negotiation tactic?

Lesson: Let them win one.

The day ends with the Egyptian team in turmoil.

Its leader, Kamel, is a control freak who has lost control, if he ever had it to begin with.