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One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict Hardcover – April 28, 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"gloomy, concise, and spot-on"—Commentary
(Commentary 2009-08-01)

"A rich and persuasive account of just how deep-seated and historically rooted the antagonism is between Israelis and Palestinians."—Ira Smolensky, Magill's Literary Annual 2010
(Ira Smolensky Magill's Literary Annual 2010)

From the Author

A conversation with Benny Morris


Q: What do you see as the relation between this book and 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War?

A: In a way, One State,Two States follows through on 1948. That is, 1948 is still with us, both in the sense that a two-state solution for the Palestine problem is what the international community and the Israeli left and center still want, and in the sense that the refugee problem, created in that year, remains with us and is the main motor force of Palestinian revanchism.


Q: Last year, you stated that if Palestine were to accord Israel legitimacy, this conflict would be soluble but that, at present, the Palestinian mindset makes this impossible. How can this mindset be changed?

A: Mindsets can be changed over the long term through education and gradual osmosis. But this doesn’t seem to be happening among the Palestinians or, for that matter, the Arab world in general. Rather the opposite—these peoples are growing increasingly radicalized, making the requisite change of mindset even less probable in coming decades. Alternatively, mindsets can be changed at a stroke, albeit a very violent stroke, in a critical instant in history—as German and Japanese mindsets changed almost overnight around 1945. Perhaps a similar trauma would do it for the Arab world. Perhaps.


Q: Are you now more hopeful about the possibility of resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict?

A: No, I do not hold out high hopes for the future, believing that the Palestinian national movement has never accepted, and continues to reject, in its innermost being, a two-state solution, while most Israeli Jews, 99 percent of them, do not agree to a one-state solution and most Arabs will not agree to sharing government in a one-state solution based on parity, so neither solution will come about. So, no, I am not optimistic.


Q: What impact do you hope your book will have?

A: I hope it will propel readers to think about the problem and its possible, or impossible, solutions. And to think about the Jordanian option, which I believe should be resurrected as the only, albeit slim, avenue toward a brighter future.



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122817
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting polemic on the always controversial topic of the relative status of the state of Israel and a Palestinian state. The author is the talented Israeli historian and former journalist Benny Morris, the author of a number of fine books on the state of Israel. The subtitle, "Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict," is misleading as Morris has little to say about escaping from the present morass. Most of this book is a well argued polemic against the "One State" concept of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the idea, developed by some American and European intellectuals, and some Palestinian advocates, that the present impasse could be resolved by the formation of a secular, democratic state incorporating the present state of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. The model is clearly the type of pluralistic state seen in some of the more diverse states of the US, provinces of Canada, or some parts of Europe.

Morris opens with a brief exposition of the One State idea and history of its recent support in America, Europe, and among some Palestinians. The meat of the book follows with a history of how both Jews-Zionists-Israelis and Palestinians thought about statehood from the 1930s to the present. Like much of Morris work, this is a well written piece of exposition. The gist of Morris' conclusions is that from the late 30s to the present, the Jews-Israelis were/are willing to accept some form of partition and a two state solution and that the Palestinian's, despite multiple defeats and social catastrophe, were/are not. Morris argues that the Palestinians are not only unwilling to accept a two state solution but essentially unwilling to tolerate substantial numbers of Jews in Palestine.
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Format: Hardcover
I offer a recommendation of this volume in "fear and trembling", certain that there are those who will detest this book and anyone who chooses to commend it on the Amazon website, or anyplace else for that matter. Nevertheless, I think it appropriate to highlight the virtues of Benny Morris' "One State, Two States", representing, as it does, a significant contribution to ongoing dialogue around the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Such a commendation need not presume that Morris' book represents the "last word" on the subject, nor need it pretend that the book is "bias-free". It is clear, almost from the first sentence, that Benny Morris writes as an Israeli; his perspective is shaped both by his essential sympathy with the Israeli "narrative" and by his affirmation of Israel's right not only to exist but to exist as a Jewish state. In this reader's judgment, however, those sympathies and loyalties do not prevent Morris from offering critical assessments of Israeli government actions in those instances in which he sees those actions as wrong-headed, nor does it prevent Morris from recognizing some of the particular challenges (and they are sobering challenges, indeed) that would face the Palestinian people were they to attempt to build a functioning state on the two small parcels of land currently available to them: the West Bank and Gaza.

And so one commends this small volume as one particularly well-written "testimony": a well-researched historian's testimony concerning the genesis of the Israel/Palestine conflict, at the same time a thoughtful citizen's not entirely despairing testimony concerning possible roads into the future: roads that just might initiate a process by which this tragic conflict may one day be resolved.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat's hand at the White House ceremony that marked the signing of the Oslo Accords that were peddled to the world as signalling the end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, by extension, the beginning of the end of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict, Rabin's wife Leah spoke about how happy she was the the two sides were "overcoming their misunderstandings" in order to supposedly make peace. The problem was that there was no "misunderstanding". The Arabs themselves are quite clear and lucid in their views about Israel and Zionism. The problem was on the Israeli side. Here, Leah Rabin was expressing the illusions that "dovish" Israelis along with well-meaning people throughout the world have held for decades....that if only Israel would be willing to give up the territories capture in 1967, specifically Judea/Samaria and Gaza, then the Arab world would be willing to end the state of hostility with the Jewish State. However, these deluded people eventually convinced themselves that this illusion was reality because they failed to listen to what the Arabs themselves were saying. The Arabs, in both their internal propaganda, as well as that directed to the outside world, have made it clear that they will not accept ANY Jewish state of ANY size, and that the problem is NOT 1967 (Israel's conquest of Judea/Samaria and Gaza), but really 1947 (The UN Partition Plan to create both a Jewish state and a Palestinian one) in addition to 1917 (the Balfour Declaration where Britain agreed to support the creation of a National Home for the Jewish People in Palestine) and finally in 1897, when Theodore Herzl created the political arm of Zionism, the World Zionist Organization). Why did the Israeli "doves" fall into this delusion?Read more ›
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