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

Padraig O'Malley

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Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. After examining each issue and speaking with Palestinians and Israelis as well as negotiators directly involved in past summits, O’Malley concludes that even if such an agreement could be reached, it would be nearly impossible to implement given a variety of obstacles including the staggering costs involved, Palestine’s political disunity and economic fragility, rapidly changing demographics in the region, Israel’s continuing political shift to the right, global warming’s effect on the water supply, and more.
In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.


“Impressive . . . [O’Malley] has done a tremendous amount of research about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s not only delved deeply into the literature; he’s also interviewed dozens of participants on both sides. The result is a book so packed with information that it will reward even the reader so dedicated that she consumes the Israel-Palestine stories buried on Page A17 of The Times. . . . O’Malley is not only knowledgeable; he’s also honest.”
New York Times Book Review
The Two-State Delusion provides an impartial, empathic but relentlessly objective look at our reality . . . [and] a refreshing departure from the blame game in which Israelis and Palestinians and their respective international champions try to make the other side responsible for the peace process’s failure. And it diverges from the tendency to find the trick that will do the job, and comes to a conclusion as intellectually compelling as it is dismaying.”
Haaretz (Israel)

“On the basis of a meticulous research effort . . . O’Malley argues very persuasively that the two-state solution is dead. . . . This volume provides valuable and very timely explanations for the persistence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One can only hope that Israeli, Palestinian and American decision makers will absorb the major lessons taught so very convincingly by O'Malley.”
Middle East Policy

“An honest assessment of where the Israelis and Palestinians are right now . . . After interviewing more than one hundred leaders on both sides, [O'Malley] believes everything attempted so far is on the wrong track. The problem, he explains, is that both sides are looking backward instead of forward.”
Cleveland Plain-Dealer

“A thoughtful autopsy of the failed two-state paradigm . . . [O’Malley] carefully sifts through the intractable coexistence between the Palestinians and Israelis and finds both sides so traumatized by the ‘narrative’ of their respective struggle that they are unable to view the other with respect or humanity—the beginning of true reconciliation. . . . Evenhanded, diplomatic, mutually respectful and enormously useful.”
Kirkus, starred review
“Exhaustively researched . . . There are no heroes in O’Malley’s account, and no clear villains either.”
Publishers Weekly


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