U.S.-PLO Dialogue:
Secret Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution

Mohamed Rabie

Foreword by Harold H. Saunders
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From the Foreword:
"This book is one testimonial to those dedicated individuals who have added an essential public dimension to the Arab-Israeli peace process."

"I know of few people as dedicated and able as Mohamed Rabie. Some will see his account as pro-Palestinian, but the fact is that Palestinians, like Israelis, have a point in the long-standing Arab-Israeli dispute and it too needs to be understood."--Hermann F. Eilts, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Saudi Arabia

"Tells in gripping detail what went on behind the scenes. . . . [Rabie] explains how the PLO works, as well as how he and other individuals anxious for peace were able to break through a blocked door and eventually bring about a dialogue between the U.S. and the PLO."--Charles Butterworth, Woodrow Wilson International Center

In December 1988 the United States announced its decision to start a dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization. A year and a half later, it suspended the dialogue.
In the months between, two men with no government ties, Mohamed Rabie and William Quandt, were catalysts in the short-lived talks. This memoir explains in detail their efforts to persuade both the United States and the PLO to focus on "shared" objectives, the difficulties encountered by all sides, and the disappointment they experienced as the talks were suspended. Rabie also discusses the developments that led to the U.S.-PLO dialogue and the activities that made it a reality, offering insights into the decision-making process within the PLO as well as an analysis of prominent PLO personalities.
All parties to Middle East politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and peacemaking in the Middle East will be interested in Rabie's articulation of the importance of secret diplomacy and unofficial dialogue as indispensable tools in political negotiation and mediation.


Mohamed Rabie is a former professor of economics who taught at several American and Arab universities, including Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and Kuwaiti universities. He writes weekly articles for newspapers throughout the Middle East and in the United States. Among his ten books are Ethnicity and Conflict Resolution, Conflict Resolution and the Middle East Peace Process, and A Vision for the Transformation of the Middle East. He has worked as a news analyst for the Kuwait News Agency and has written numerous papers in English and Arabic for scholarly journals.


Harold H. Saunders, Director of International Affairs at the Kettering Foundation, was a member of the National Security Council staff in the White House and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. State Department.

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"Mohamed Rabie's book is a personal narrative of the events and mediations culminating in the dialogue between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Tunis on 16 December 1988." "Rabie's account is passionate, yet candid and critical." "Rabie successfully demonstrates how efforts of determined and committed individuals may help achieve dialogue between otherwise contending parties."
--Annals of the American Academy of Poltical and Social Science

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