The Bazaar Is Open

But the haggling over the hostages could take forever

The rules for a successful negotiation are pretty straightforward. All sides must want to make a deal, and everyone must come away with something. Last week it looked as if most of the parties in the complex hostage drama were at least talking about a deal. But satisfying everyone poses such a monumental challenge that any solution will take a long, long time -- if it comes at all.

The rapid movement provoked by Israel's kidnaping of Shi'ite Sheik Abdul Karim Obeid has given way to a lengthy process of public posturing and private dickering. Israel offered the Shi'ites a simple...

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