Padraig O'Malley is the subject of the new acclaimed documentary The Peacemaker
“A thoughtful autopsy of the failed two-state paradigm . . . Evenhanded, diplomatic, mutually respectful, and enormously useful.”
—Kirkus, starred review
Disputes over settlements, the right of return, the rise of Hamas, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and other intractable issues have repeatedly derailed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Now, in a book that is sure to spark controversy, renowned peacemaker Padraig O’Malley argues that the moment for a two-state solution has passed. After examining each issue and speaking with Palestinians and Israelis as well as negotiators directly involved in past summits, O’Malley concludes that even if such an agreement could be reached, it would be nearly impossible to implement given the staggering costs, Palestine’s political disunity and the viability of its economy, rapidly changing demographics, Israel’s continuing political shift to the right, global warming’s effect on the water supply, and more.
In this revelatory, hard-hitting book, O’Malley approaches the key issues pragmatically, without ideological bias, to show that we must find new frameworks for reconciliation if there is to be lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.
In this exhaustively researched work, O'Malley (Shades of Difference), a negotiator of key peace milestones in Northern Ireland, declares that the time for a two-state settlement between Israelis and Palestinians is gone. He explores the relevant history in mind-numbing detail before throwing up his hands and concluding that deeply-rooted "one-sided worldviews and mutual fears" have made the conflict all but intractable. "Each side is attached to its addiction" to recurring bouts of violence that provide cover for their mutual lack of commitment to securing peace. Israel drifts steadily to the right, hardening its stance toward its Arab population and the Palestinians disenfranchised in the Nakba, or "catastrophe," of 1948. Meanwhile, the factional split between Hamas fighters and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority's nominal voice, has left the West Bank and Gaza's Palestinian residents without functioning government. The result is a Palestinian militancy that can always win by losing by carrying out doomed military campaigns that place Israel in the position of an oppressive occupying power. There are no heroes in O'Malley's account, and no clear villains either. The situation is exasperating and tragic, but, as O'Malley poignantly asks at the end of his bleak assessment, "Why should I be so presumptuous as to dare provide a vision for people who refuse to provide one for themselves?"