To talk or not to talk .
When and how. are the two questions . Let me add two more dimensions. where and how.
My openion for first question is "must talk" When to talk ? At the earliest oppertunity.Talk the stuff, talk tough, talk seriously, and sincerely.
What I intend to emphasise is talk should not be a political confabulation,it should be a professional workshop, eliciting the views of other party.The venue must be in your place or at a third party place, never in their place as terrorists are the most untrust worthy.purpose of talk should be enlightened ti them.
Your article amplifies my recent short feature „To talk or not to talk with the enemy, that is the question“ and brings more differentiated thought to it. I would like to comment on only two points.
You say “the question is not whether or not to negotiate, but when and how.” My response to the “when and how” would be: From the start, always, continuously, and never stop! Just as the Shlomo Ben-Ami example you relate would suggest.
And, if a “compare and contrast” is at all appropriate: I was talking about “talking”. You are focusing more on negotiating. For me (just) talking and keeping the lines of communication open always makes sense, even if nothing very tangible, or even backlashes, happen. The passing of time in of itself offers myriad potentialities for even the slightest changes to occur—and these cannot possibly be missed.