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Benny Morris. One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009. 256 pages. Hardcover $26.00
History is usually written by the powerful. Yet, inevitably, the march of time entails the emergence of transformative concepts that challenge predominant narratives. Benny Morris' One State, Two States is largely a resistant response to changes that are occurring in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Instead of an objective account of the two main approaches to "resolution," it contains the last gasps of foundering ideas. Its main objective is to discredit both solutions in favor of a disguised version of the "Jordanian option." The only merit in this book is its possible use as a summary of the usual litany of Israeli positions.
Without a doubt, the two states solution has been the predominant, but problematic, approach to the conflict. It forms the basis of the current "peace process," its shortcomings and its failure to produce results has contributed to the growing stature of the one state, bi-national solution. In addition, the growing international success of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at ending the Occupation has also emerged as a "threat" to the entrenched interests of powerful states.
Morris tries to counter these developments, staying within the parameters of the Zionist ethos, of both the left and right in Israel, to create and maintain an exclusivist, ethno-religious state. Consequently, an ideological block against a secular, democratic, bi-national state if the majority is Arab is evident throughout the book. He leaves unaddressed the contradiction inherent in ethnocentric conceptions of "democracy" when majority opinion conflicts with power interests. Similarly, Morris deems the two states approach unacceptable because it contains elements like the Right of Return, that are central to Palestinian aspirations and rights, but which he perceives as a direct assault on Zionist predominance and …