The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine—a Tale of Two Narratives

Padraig O’Malley. Viking, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-0-670-02505-3
In this exhaustively researched work, O’Malley (Shades of Difference), a negotiator of key peace milestones in Northern Ireland, declares that the time for a two-state settlement between Israelis and Palestinians is gone. He explores the relevant history in mind-numbing detail before throwing up his hands and concluding that deeply-rooted “one-sided worldviews and mutual fears” have made the conflict all but intractable. “Each side is attached to its addiction” to recurring bouts of violence that provide cover for their mutual lack of commitment to securing peace. Israel drifts steadily to the right, hardening its stance toward its Arab population and the Palestinians disenfranchised in the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of 1948. Meanwhile, the factional split between Hamas fighters and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s nominal voice, has left the West Bank and Gaza’s Palestinian residents without functioning government. The result is a Palestinian militancy that can always win by losing—by carrying out doomed military campaigns that place Israel in the position of an oppressive occupying power. There are no heroes in O’Malley’s account, and no clear villains either. The situation is exasperating and tragic, but, as O’Malley poignantly asks at the end of his bleak assessment, “Why should I be so presumptuous as to dare provide a vision for people who refuse to provide one for themselves?” (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/02/2015
Release date: 04/28/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-14-312917-2
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