Lustick of the University of Pennsylvania purports to explain why efforts to implement the "two-state solution" have failed, ascribing the repeated failures to three primary Israeli missteps: the "Iron Wall" strategy of "treating the Arabs as an enemy with whom compromise might ultimately be possible, but only after their will had been broken by successive and painful defeats"; the use of the Holocaust as a "template for Jewish life" as in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated declarations that "it's 1938 and Iran is Germany"; and the dominance of the "Israel lobby" over U.S. foreign policy. He asserts, "A Palestinian state could have been established and could have coexisted peacefully alongside Israel, but the opportunity to establish it was historically perishable and is no longer available."
Lustick recommends discarding the idea of a Palestinian state entirely and focusing on the "one-state reality" of Israel as a state for both Jews and Arabs—in other words, no longer a Jewish state. He insists that such a unitary state would result in alliances between Jewish and Arab groups with compatible political perspectives.
This analysis, however, suffers from the same defect that mars much conventional wisdom regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: It assumes, despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, that the obstacles for peace are entirely on the Israeli side, and that adjustments in Israeli policies will secure peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians. Lustick ignores the genocidal rhetoric broadcast on Palestinian Authority and Hamas' television networks. He says nothing about the fact that Palestinians, not Israelis, have rejected all previous offers to establish a Palestinian state, including the Trump "Deal of the Century."
The assumption that Palestinian Arabs and other non-Westerners are simply passive reactors to the good or ill that is done to them by Western entities, rather than having any perspectives or imperatives of their own, is ethnocentric. Lustick is silent regarding the Qur'anic command to "drive them out from where they drove you out" (2:191), which animates Palestinian intransigence and refusal to accept the existence of Israel in any form. This book fails due to its ignorance of these core facts.