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Israel's 1993 Decision to Make Peace with the PLO or How Political Losers (this Time) Became Winners

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Political losers' theory claims that political losers can move to a winning position if they turn the tables and change the situation completely. Our analysis shows that political losers can become winners by maintaining their favored option on the agenda. If the alternatives promoted by the political winners collapse and the losers have access to the winners' agenda, then there can be a situation in which the losers' favored alternative might be adopted. The 1993 Oslo Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) illustrates this. We show how a team of political losers facilitated an alternative that the political winner – Israel's Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin – eventually had to adopt when his more favored options for negotiations became irrelevant. Thus, this narrative offers a complementary explanation to existing explanations of the Oslo Agreement, applies political losers' theory and provides further insight into the influence of domestic politics on international negotiations.

Affiliations: 1: The Lauder School of Government, The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), P.O. Box 167, Herzliya 46150, Israel; 2: Israeli Political Science Association and Political Science Department, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel


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