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

3.2 out of 5 stars 17 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.



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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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 17, 2009
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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gosh, it's been a while since I read Benny Morris's One State, Two States so I don't exactly have the appropriate perspective to comment on it, but I'll try anyway. Basically, Morris argues that there is no real solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict short of having the Palestinians be absorbed into Jordan. Morris seems especially angry in the book, by the way, that Palestinians have rejected peace proposals every time they've been on the table. Those who are sympathetic with the Palestinian position have argued that every proposal that the Palestinians have received has been crummy and would not truly grant the Palestinians a complete, contiguous nation-state. I'm no expert about this, but this seems to be the nature of the debate.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought and read this book because two of the reviews that I read said that it was objective and offered a valid solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Neither is true. I have never read a more biased, one sided, unfair account of this 60 year conflict.

Professor Morris grossly understates the importance of the more 130 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which leaves little hope for a two state solution. It should be obvious that from the beginning of the creation of the Jewish state, Israel planned to expand its territory into the West Bank and to keep all of Jerusalem.

I could site many examples of bias, but I shall just explain one. I refer to the Camp David Peace initiative organized by President Clinton with Ehud Barak representing Israel and Yasir Arafat representing the Palestinians. It is true President Clinton put most of the blame on Arafat, but both sides are equal to blame. It is clear Israel never intended to give up East Jerusalem. Ehud told Clinton this before the initiative began. It was also the Israeli proposal to take 9% of the West Bank including the territory adjacent to Jerusalem which included a large number of illegal settlements. Arafat was also to blame as he refused to make a counter proposal. Arafat also refused to give up the idea of resettlement of Arabs into Israel.

Solomon Ben-Ali, israel's Minister of Foreign Relations at the time, and a participant in the negotiations stated, "Camp David was not a missed opportunity for the Palestinians and if I were a Palestinian, I would have rejected Camp David as well."

I wish Israel and Palestine could live in peace in separate but friendly states. Here I agree with Morris that the situation at this point is beyond possible.
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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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