Newspaper article International New York Times

John Mroz, Mideast Mediator, Dies at 66

Newspaper article International New York Times

John Mroz, Mideast Mediator, Dies at 66

Article excerpt

In the early 1980s, Mr. Mroz conducted secret talks in a failed bid to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization to recognize Israel's right to exist.

John Edwin Mroz, a consultant to governments in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere who conducted secret talks with Yasir Arafat on behalf of the Reagan administration in an unsuccessful effort to persuade the Palestine Liberation Organization to accept Israel's right to exist, died on Aug. 15 in New York. He was 66.

The cause was a combination of cancer and macrophage activation syndrome, a rare condition arising from complications of rheumatic disorders, his wife, Karen, said.

Mr. Mroz was a co-founder and the chief executive of the EastWest Institute, a nonprofit research and policy group based in New York that for more than three decades has specialized in conflict resolution on an international scale.

In 1981, he was the 33-year-old director of Middle East studies at the former International Peace Academy, an organization affiliated with the United Nations that trained civilians and military personnel in negotiating and peacekeeping.

In August of that year, Mr. Mroz received a memorandum from the P.L.O., reportedly at the instigation of Arafat, its chairman, suggesting that the organization was ready to negotiate on acknowledging Israel as a state in exchange for official recognition by the United States.

Understanding that such talks could bridge divides between the Palestinians and Israel and between the Palestinians and the United States, Mr. Mroz contacted the State Department and was authorized to meet secretly with Arafat by Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.

For nine months, Mr. Mroz traveled frequently to Beirut, Lebanon, where the P.L.O. had its headquarters, meeting with Arafat 50 or more times. In May 1982, according to The New York Times, the P. …

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