The Minnow and the Whale: Norway and the United States in the Peace Process in the Middle East

Led by Hilde Henriksen Waage

Jan 2003 – Dec 2003

External Consultant

Prof. William B. Quandt, Stettinius Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs and Vice Provost for International Affairs at the University of Virginia (; a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution.

Aim & Goals

To analyse and explain why Norway succeeded and the US failed in getting Israel and the PLO to agree on the Declaration of Principles (1993), paving the way for gradual Israeli withdrawal from some of the Occupied Territories, local Palestinian self-determination and mutual recognition between the two adversaries. The US had for decades tried to mediate a peaceful solution to the conflict and had invested a lot of political prestige in the Madrid and Washington framework. They got nowhere, while the Norwegians succeeded through their little, secret Back Channel. What does this tell us about international mediation attempts to solve a civil war?

Organization & Financing

The project forms a part of the research project 'Peacemaking is risky business. Norway's role in the peace process in the Middle East, 1993-96', commissioned in 2001 and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It also makes an element of the new Institute Strategic Project (ISP) 'The Missing Peace' proposed to the Norwegian Research Council in June 2003.


A report will be submitted to the MFA in mid-2003; on this basis, a book manuscript will be prepared and submitted to an international publisher in 2004. Two articles will also be submitted to international journals in 2003-2004; one of those ('Minnow and Whale', to be submitted in October/ November 2003 to either Diplomatic History or Middle East Journal) will make a specific output of this WG1 project.


The project will continue throughout 2003.

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