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One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0805086669
ISBN-10: 0805086668
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Much recent commentary on the stalled Middle East peace process has focused on ways to redirect Israelis and Palestinians toward the "road map for peace," which aims to end hostilities by gradually establishing an independent Palestinian state that would exist alongside, albeit entwined with, the Israeli state. With this book, an outspoken advocate for the Palestinian cause argues that peace in the region can be better achieved by establishing a single, united, democratic state. Abunimah is not, of course, the first to propose a one-state, or "binational," solution--indeed, interest in a one-state solution has grown as the two-state model has sputtered--and he is well aware of the obstacles to a one-state solution: namely, that socioeconomic inequality, disproportionate birth rates, and a perceived loss of sovereignty would seem to provide meager incentives for Jewish Israelis. But Abunimah's approach, inspired by ongoing reconciliation processes in South Africa (and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland), is fresh, energetic, and ultimately optimistic that those tired of violence will eventually gravitate toward an inclusive, unified Israel. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian-American, is the co-creator and editor of the Electronic Intifada Web site. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he has written for the Chicago Tribune, among other publications.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805086668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805086669
  • ASIN: B0055X66GY
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,491,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rather than rehashing the same dead arguments on Palestine/Israel or relying on 'blame game' rhetoric, this book offers a refreshing vision of the future: one democratic state for Palestinians and Israeli Jews, living side by side with equal rights. Certainly not a new vision, as the author duly notes, but rarely argued so cogently and with such sound vision for the future. Abunimah draws on successful examples of multi-ethnic states (Belgium, Ireland, South Africa) to shape his argument for a multi-ethnic Palestine-Israel, and to envision how two peoples locked into conflict by decades of oppression might come together.
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Format: Paperback
In his book One Country, Ali Abunimah puts forth a radical proposal toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that of a single secular-democratic state for both Arabs and Jews. While aspects of his argument have merit, particularly his assertion that the destinies of Jews and Arabs have become inextricably intertwined, Abunimah fails to explain how such a plan could be implemented in a way that is acceptable to both groups. Although the book is thought-provoking in that it challenges the reader to imagine an ideal scenario, I simply did not find his argument convincing or plausible.

As Abunimah himself points out, both sides favor a two-state solution, although many Palestinians support a one-state solution over a two-state solution without full sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza. For Israelis, only the most radical minority calls for what most equate with the destruction of the State of Israel. The book fails to explain how Abunimah's vision could be implemented in spite of the international consensus on a two-state solution and Israel's overwhelming opposition to losing its status as a Jewish state. He also never addresses how such a state could function in the face of such raw tensions without breeding further violence. Finally, while he shows a certain understanding of Jewish fears and insists on maintaining the Law of Return (which grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel), he brushes aside the fear that a state with an Arab majority will fail to truly safeguard Jewish rights. It is possible that it would, but at this point, there is not enough trust between the two communities to give Israeli Jews the security to contemplate taking such a risk.
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Format: Hardcover
I came into the book committed to a two-country solution; I came out of it convinced that Abunimah is right and we need one fully democratic country in Israel of Palestine. Ali is passionate, honest about the difficulties, and filled with persuasive arguments. He writes openly and intimately, going into detail on how difficult the situation is for all sides, and proposing some very reasonable solutions. I appreciated most his use of the example of apartheid in South Africa. Others have spoken recently of the similarities between Israel and South Africa, but Abunimah goes further, speaking of how the Palestinians themselves now refer to their ghettos as bantustans. Then Abunimah uses this very example to show how we can have real hope for change, even in this most intractable of dilemmas. South Africa now becomes not the pariah state, but the hope for real change in an intractable situation, and real lasting peace. Thank you, Laila el-Haddad, for your groundbreaking blog from Gaza, to let me know of this book. Thank you Ali Abunimah for being courageous enough to speak that which dare not be named, to suggest that the original ideas had some merit, and to go beyond the rhetoric to bring us hope.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book, the best book yet on the unitary state which is probably the only solution that could deliver peace to the Israelis and Palestinians.

It is beautifully and elegantly written. Ali Abunimah can write like the best. It surprised me that a man who must feel deeply about this conflict was able to write such an truthful and almost blame-free book. Nothing too nasty - this is a classy guy and his restraint is admirable, making this a potent book. Arabs usually indulge in hyperbole which is a big turn-off to Western audiences, but not this author... if anything, the book is understated. But style is the least of it - what he says is worth saying.

What's different about this book is that he starts down the road of implementation. He actually considers what it would take to achieve a unitary state. He made two excellent suggestions for laying the groundwork for peace that immediately come to mind.

He says that the Palestinians need to articulate a vision that the Jews can accept, along the lines that Mandela used in his struggle - that they see historic Palestine as belonging to everyone who lives there, Jews and Arabs. Sharing! Forget the nonsense about pushing Israel into the sea.

And he says that Israel must not be rewarded for its illegal and aggressive behavior but rather, punished. Right on... it's the only way... make the status quo painful, and offer a more attractive and peaceful alternative.

Any person who is thinking about how to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians must read this book. It's the best.
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