The Middle East Peace Process: How Did I Get It So Wrong?
Middle East
Track Two
old city
Palestinian Liberation Organization
Holy Sites

In this article, Michael Dumper critically examines his engagement with the Middle East peace process from 1992 through to 2023. He provides an overview and a discussion of some of the key issues and the contribution played by Track Two discussions, particularly in relation to Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem. The section on Jerusalem explores in more detail the difficulties in finding a mutually agreeable framework for the management of the holy sites in the city and considers the approaches of some of the groups participating in these discussions. The author also reflects on the cultural and educational influences that guided his participation in these discussions and some of the pitfalls he failed to avoid. The way in which academia is coopted into policy making is also considered. The conclusion offers both some lessons learned and a prognosis for the prospects of a negotiated agreement.

Author biography: 

Michael Dumper is professor emeritus in Middle East politics, University of Exeter, UK, where he has been employed since 1986. Previously he worked for a number of NGOs in the Middle East, and after 1993 was a consultant or advisor on Middle East politics for the UK and Canadian governments, for the Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), the European Commission Task Force on Refugees, as well as a number of think tanks and research centers in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. He is author of seven books and many articles on Palestinian refugee repatriation, Jerusalem, the peace process, and the politics of holy cities.