This 54-minute webinar, recorded Oct. 27, 2021, is part of the Center for Israel Education’s “Israel in Context” series and is incorporated into an extensive set of documents, study guides, videos and other resources CIE has compiled at https://israeled.org/madrid-conference/ to mark the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference, when Israel first sat at the same table with all of its immediate Arab neighbors to talk peace.
This panel discussion features participants Itamar Rabinovich, Aaron David Miller and Joel Greenberg with moderator Ken Stein. It focuses on four areas: the events that spawned the conference; how the conference was path-breaking; the differing motivations of the attendees; and how strands from Madrid led to progress and failure in Arab-Israeli negotiations the next three decades.
Stein, CIE’s founding president and chief content officer, provides the developments through the 1980s that led to Madrid. Miller, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior fellow and former State Department official who was part of the U.S. delegation at Madrid, offers insights into why Secretary of State James A. Baker III took up the challenge of comprehensive Middle East peace and what he hoped Madrid would achieve. Rabinovich, who led Israel’s post-Madrid negotiations with Syria while serving as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, explains what brought Hafez Assad to the Madrid process and why Yitzhak Rabin would have preferred to reach a deal with Assad rather than the PLO’s Yasser Arafat. Greenberg, a Jerusalem-based journalist who reported on Madrid for The Jerusalem Post, talks about the new world of journalists from Israel and Arab states working alongside one another and about a media star of the conference, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.