Vijay Prashad in Frontline:
Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, U.S., has written a number of crucial books to explain the predicament of the Palestinian people. Five of which have provided the long history of Palestinian nationalism, from his first book that opens in 1906 (British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914, 1980), through his wide-ranging study of Palestinian national consciousness (Palestinian Identity, 1997) to his more recent attempt to understand how that striving ended up with the P.A. (The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, 2006). Alongside this exploration of Palestinian exertions, Khalidi has traced the role of U.S. foreign policy in West Asia with two important books about the U.S’ power in the region during the Cold War (Resurrecting Empire, 2004, and Sowing Crisis, 2009).
In the book under review, Khalidi brings to bear these two concerns, the complicity between the Israel and the U.S. to throw Palestinian nationalism into an iron cage that is gilded on the outside with language that appears conciliatory but is in fact its opposite. It is a forensic analysis of the collusion between the U.S. and Israel, dispelling the view of the U.S. as an “honest broker” in the negotiations (hence the book’s title).
Having written several comprehensive books on the Palestinian struggle and on its limitations, Khalidi here turns to a useful narrative device. He looks at three moments in the “peace process” to illuminate the complicity of the U.S. with Israel’s project of settler-colonialism.