In July 1993, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry rented a country house 150 miles north of Oslo to host Israeli and Palestinian mediators. The owners, who were colleagues of the wife of Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Egeland, were told that they would be hosting Middle Eastern academics working on a book. Egeland and other Norwegian officials spent the night in somnolent silence hoping for a breakthrough. Around 5:30 a.m., talks broke down and both sides demanded to be taken to the airport. They had been there for 44 hours. Their hosts woke up in the morning to prepare breakfast, only to discover the house emptied of guests. In the landscape of peace negotiations, there are many abandoned houses. May Jeong writes about one of them for Harper's Magazine.