In This Review

Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, From Balfour to Trump
Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, From Balfour to Trump
By Khaled Elgindy
333 pp, Brookings Institution Press, 2019

Elgindy, a former adviser to the Palestinian leadership on negotiations with Israel, presents a balanced and thorough interpretation of more than a century of U.S. policy on Palestinian issues. He identifies two U.S. blind spots: the huge power imbalance between Israel and the Palestinians and the U.S. assumption that the Palestinians will have to make most of the concessions. American policy has varied over the years, but on one issue it has remained largely constant: the denial of any right of return to Palestinian refugees. Although the United States supported a un resolution in 1948 affirming that right and another in 1967 urging a just settlement for the refugee problem, Washington has never given more than tepid support to the return of even token numbers of refugees. U.S. acquiescence to the Israeli settlements in territories Israel captured during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war has followed a similar trajectory. First seen as illegal, settlements are now embraced by most American politicians as something akin to a God-given right for Israelis. In this respect, President Donald Trump is merely building on the foundations laid by presidents of both parties before him, including Barack Obama.