Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rules of the Middle Eastern Bazaar.

Moshe Sharon,

Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

…when the time comes for serious negotiations, after the Arabs have lost all hope of annihilating the Jewish state, here are ten rules for bargaining in the Middle Eastern bazaar:

1. Never be the first to suggest anything to the other side. Never show any eagerness "to conclude a deal."

2. Always reject, always disagree. Use the phrase: "Not meeting the minimum demands" and walk away, even a hundred times.

3. Don't rush to come up with counter-offers. There will always be time for that. Let the other side make amendments under the pressure of your total "disappointment."

4. Have your own plan ready in full, as detailed as possible, with the red lines completely defined. However, never show this or any other plan to a third party.

5. Never change your detailed plan to meet the other side "half way." Remember, there is no "half way." The other side also has a master plan. Be ready to quit negotiations when you encounter stubbornness on the other side.

6. Never leave things unclear. Always avoid "creative phrasing" and "creative ideas" which are exactly what your Arab opponent wants. Remember the Arabs are masters of language. Playing with words is the Arab national sport.

7. Always bear in mind that the other side will try to outsmart you by presenting major issues as unimportant details. Regard every detail as a vitally important issue. Never postpone any problem "for a later occasion." If you do so, you will lose. Remember that your opponent is always looking for a reason to avoid honoring agreements.

8. Emotion belongs neither in the marketplace nor at the negotiating table.

9. Beware of popular beliefs about the Arabs and the Middle East - "Arab honor" for example. Remember, you have honor too.

10. You should aim at making the highest profit in real terms. Remember that every gain is an asset for the future because there is always going to be "another round."

The Arabs have been practicing negotiation tactics for more than 2000 years. They are the masters of words, and a mine of endless patience. In contrast, Israelis (and Westerners in general) want "quick results." In this part of the world there are no quick results; the impatient one always loses.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Moshe Sharon'a 10 commandments regarding "Rules of the Middle East Bazaar" appear at the end of an article that is just as 'Hot' on the press today as it was in March 4th 1994 when originally published in the Jerusalem Post, and re-Published in Hebrew by News1 recently. I wonder if there is a way of getting an English version - Where?