Israel, Jordan, and Palestine: The Two-State Imperative
By Asher Susser
Brandeis, 2011, 312 pp.
This careful analysis of a century of efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not inspire optimism. Susser knows the terrain as well as anyone. His informed, balanced analysis reveals just how little the terms of the conflict have changed over the decades. The “1948 file” (refugees and Jerusalem) is pitted against the “1967 file” (settlements and territory). The latter is tractable. But the former has proved intractable: the Palestinian insistence on the right of return scuppered the Camp David talks in 2000 and has motivated Israel’s demand that the Palestinians recognize the state’s “Jewishness.” Susser’s critical pulse races when he discusses proponents of a one-state solution and the Israeli settler movement: he shows no empathy for either. His answer to the impasse is to call for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and to hope for the best in resolving the refugee issue in less fraught times.