When Formal Negotiations Fail: Strategic Negotiation, Ripeness Theory, and the Kerry Initiative

Oliver Ramsbotham, Amira Schiff

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5 Scopus citations


This study takes the failure of Secretary of State Kerry's efforts to mediate negotiations aimed at resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a case study and asks what can be done in intractable cases where efforts at conflict resolution have failed. It suggests a move from conflict resolution to conflict engagement in these cases; this entails preparing the ground for formal negotiation within a wider and prior strategic negotiation (SN) framework. We outline a strategic negotiation (SN) approach that aims to supplement existing theoretical and practical approaches in cases that have yet to gain sufficient traction. This new perspective is grounded in the prenegotiation literature, but adds another layer by addressing the circumstances in which conflict parties are not even prepared to undertake the preliminary moves that prenegotiation requires. We suggest how an SN approach might be helpful as an extension and supplement to ripeness theory in the most difficult cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-340
Number of pages20
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Association for Conflict Management and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • kerry
  • negotiations
  • ripeness
  • strategic negotiation


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