The United States has invested billions of dollars and countless diplomatic hours in the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace and a two-state solution. Yet American attempts to broker an end to the conflict have repeatedly come up short. In Blind Spot, Khaled Elgindy shows that two irreducible factors stand in the way: Israeli power and Palestinian politics.
American peacemaking efforts have been hobbled by Washington’s assumption that a credible peace settlement could be achieved without addressing either Israel’s vast superiority in power or internal Palestinian politics. Elgindy finds that while Israelis and Palestinians have each played a role in perpetuating their conflict, Washington’s distinctive “blind spot” to Palestinian politics and Israeli power has prevented it from serving as an effective peace broker. Shaped by the pressures of American domestic politics and the special relationship with Israel, the blind spot also has deep historical roots, dating back to the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate over Palestine.
The size and intensity of the blind spot have varied over the years and from one administration to another, but it remains always present. Elgindy argues that unless and until U.S. policymakers are prepared to act in ways that constrain Israeli power and acknowledge Palestinian politics, American peacemaking stands little chance of success.