Impossible Peace

Israel/Palestine since 1989

Mark Levine


An account of the peace process in the Middle East, this work shows how by learning from history it may be possible to avoid the errors that have long doomed peace in the region.
In 1993 luminaries from around the world signed the 'Oslo Accords' - a pledge to achieve lasting peace in the Holy Land - on the lawn of the White House. Yet things didn't turn out quite as planned. With over 1, 000 Israelis and close to four times that number of Palestinians killed since 2000, the Oslo process is now considered 'history'.

Impossible Peace provides one of the first comprehensive analyses of that history. Mark LeVine argues that Oslo was never going to bring peace or justice to Palestinians or Israelis. He claims that the accords collapsed not because of a failure to live up to the agreements; but precisely because of the terms of and ideologies underlying the agreements. Today more than ever before, it's crucial to understand why these failures happened and how they will impact on future negotiations towards the 'final status agreement'. This fresh and honest account of the peace process in the Middle East shows how by learning from history it may be possible to avoid the errors that have long doomed peace in the region.

Author Bio

Mark LeVine is Professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is a contributing editor for Tikkun magazine, and has written for The Los Angeles Times, Le Monde and Christian Science Monitor. He is the author and editor of half a dozen books, including: Heavy Metal Islam (2008), Why They Don't Hate Us (2005), Overthrowing Geography (2005), Religion, Social Practices and Contested Hegemonies (2004) and Twilight of Empire (2003).

Table of Contents

  • Map
  • Chronology
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Introduction
  • 1. From Modernity to the Messiah on the Mediterranean
  • 2. From Handshake to Security State
  • 3. No Land, No Peace
  • 4. The Economics of Failure
  • 5. Religion, Culture and Territory in a Globalized Context
  • 6. Violence, Chaos and the History of the Future
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Index


'In this excellent book, Mark LeVine presents us with a high-quality, original and penetrating historical account of the failed "peace process" in Israel/Palestine. He displays an impressive ability to weave together historical, geographical and political knowledge. LeVine skillfully analyzes the "history of the present" as a contemporary expression of long-term Western colonial ambitions in the Middle East and convincingly argues that such latter day colonialism - by its very nature - prevents genuine reconciliation.'
Oren Yiftachel, Ben-Gurion University

'Impossible Peace offers a lucid analysis of the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the end of the Cold War, well grounded in that conflict's regional and global political and economic contexts. Its assessment of the contradictions of the "Oslo process" helps provide a deeper understanding of a conflict that many people have come to see as hopelessly intractable.'
Zachary Lockman, New York University

'Mark LeVine challenges the simplistic view of Oslo, arguing that it never had a chance to produce peace. His historical analysis demonstrates the deleterious impact of globalization and neoliberalism on the "peace process". A very readable book.'
Nubar Hovespian, Chapman University

'A highly readable work that situates the current malaise within the global context of a seemingly regional conflict. Levine helps us read the meaning of the violence behind the headlines, and uncover the underlying causes among local contestants.'
Salim Tamari, University of California


Publication Date: 15 December 2008
240 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781842777695
eBook ePub: 9781848137035
eBook PDF: 9781848133778
eBook Kindle: 9781780326962
Library Edition: 9781842777688

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