Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality

In view of the importance of this book, two contrasting reviews have been presented. 

Reviewed by Naomi Chazan in Palestine-Israel Journal January 2021 ( University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019, 232 pp), under the title, “Palestine’s war and peace.

Prof. Naomi Chazan is a former Meretz MK, deputy speaker of the Knesset and president of the New Israel Fund. She is a professor emerita of political science at the Hebrew University and a senior fellow at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.

“Ian Lustick’s latest book, Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to OneState Reality, is devoted to tracing and analyzing the causes for what he
considers to be the failure of the two-state solution and the entrenchment  of a one-state reality in Israel-Palestine today. As such, it predates and
elaborates on what is now becoming the central debate over our political futures in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Its
importance and contribution, consequently, cannot be exaggerated.”

“Lustick’s main thesis is as simple as it is transformative: the two-state
worldview that has served as the foundation of successive efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for over a century is no longer relevant.
Its guiding vision — especially during the past two decades — has been jettisoned in favor of increasing direct and indirect Israeli control over the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip and their Palestinian residents.”

“Lustick attributes this development to the unintended consequences of three main factors, the first of which is the consistent disregard of Palestinian aspirations by past and present Zionist leaders — especially after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the Israeli victory in the 1967 war. Although both Arabs and Jews have played a role in the erosion of the two-state concept, Israel’s military successes left it less — rather than more —  inclined to reach a lasting compromise with its Palestinian neighbors.”  (more…)

Reviewed by Janet McMahon in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2020

“Ever since I first read Thomas Kuhn’s groundbreaking The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in college, I’ve had a special affinity for the word “paradigm.” So it’s no surprise that I was intrigued by the title of Ian Lustick’s latest book, Paradigm Lost.”

“Lustick’s lost paradigm is the two-state solution, which he once advocated but now considers a distraction and “useful fiction.” As the University of Pennsylvania political science professor states on p. 2: “In principle, two states might someday emerge in Palestine. But the hard truth is that such an arrangement will not and can not come about from negotiations…There is today one and only one state ruling the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and its name is Israel.”

“Lustick proceeds to discuss the factors that resulted in this reality, noting throughout the historical effect of unintended consequences. According to the author, the Revisionist Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” theory was “a plan for moving from categorical Arab rejection of Zionism to a negotiated compromise based on satisfaction of Zionism’s minimum requirements.”

“However, Lustick observes, Jabotinsky and his adherents failed to realize that Israel’s successive and decisive victories “would push Jewish psychology and politics toward more extreme demands for the satisfaction of Zionist objectives. Another contributing factor to the status quo that Lustick cites is what he terms “Holocaustia,” or the view that “the essence of Jewish life in the contemporary world is that all Jews are threatened equally by Nazi-style genocide.” Despite its current ubiquity, not only in Israel but seemingly throughout the Western world, the Holocaust did not function as a “template…that governs how Israelis think about themselves and their country” until the late 1990s, Lustick notes.” (more…)


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