Using the secret Middle East peace talks in Oslo, Norway as a case example, the authors develop a conceptual framework for analyzing prenegotiation processes in negotiation. The framework focuses on understanding changes in the balance of geopolitical, internal, political, and group psychological forces that lead parties to negotiate. The framework also highlights the importance of “channel factors,” such as the use of unofficial representatives, small-state sponsorship, co-mediation, secret diplomacy, and staged agreements. Although developed with reference to the Oslo peace process, the authors believe this framework has broader applicability to the analysis of prenegotiation processes in international and ethnic disputes and other situations of protracted conflict. They conclude with a series of questions for future prenegotiation research.