Obstacle to Peace

The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Jeremy R. Hammond
Obstacle to Peace shatters mainstream propaganda narratives about the conflict, revealing the true reasons for its persistence and illuminating the path forward to a just resolution.

Obstacle to Peace

The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Jeremy R. Hammond
Obstacle to Peace shatters mainstream propaganda narratives about the conflict, revealing the true reasons for its persistence and illuminating the path forward to a just resolution.
What is the root cause of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinans? Why has it persisted for so long? How can peace and justice finally be realized?

Obstacle to Peace not only provides the answers, but also explains why you won’t hear them from the US government or mainstream media.

With incisive and provocative analysis, award-winning journalist Jeremy R. Hammond provides a meticulously documented account that explodes popular myths and deconstructs standard narratives about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

For anyone seeking a better understanding of the conflict’s root causes, the true reasons for its persistence, and the way forward, Obstacle to Peace delivers the knowledge and insights to effect the paradigm shift required to achieve justice and peace in the Middle East.

“Hammond’s book breaks new ground in ways that fundamentally alter our understanding of the conflict and how to resolve it.” Richard Falk

Professor Emeritus at Princeton and Former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, from the Foreword

Why I Wrote Obstacle to Peace

T here’s a widespread misconception that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is too complicated to resolve. The world witnesses the routine violence, and a sense of hopelessness prevails.

News consumers trying to understand what’s happening struggle to make sense of conflicting information.

Many watching events unfold wish for peace, but resign themselves to the belief that there’s nothing they can do about it.

For those who believe they can have an impact, the obstacles are enormous. Answers need to be found to questions like:

  • How can I distinguish truth from deceptive propaganda?
  • What sources can I trust?
  • How can I quickly gain an in-depth understanding of this issue without having to spend years researching?
  • How can the momentum of the established political order that’s maintaining the status quo be overcome?
  • What can do to help make a difference?
  • How can I gain the knowledge and confidence to speak out and become an effective voice for peace?
My name is Jeremy R. Hammond, and I’d like to share with you briefly the story about why I wrote the book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

In the summer of 2008, the government of Israel came to a ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian organization ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas. As an independent journalist and political analyst, I was observing the situation, and it soon became evident that the ceasefire would not hold. I wrote on my blog that it would end with Israel launching a military operation in Gaza.

On December 27, that prediction came true as Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead”. I continued to pay close attention to what was happening in Gaza during this 22-day assault, and wrote about it on my blog and at Foreign Policy Journal, an online publication I had founded shortly prior, in the fall of 2008.

I subsequently received a Project Censored Award for writing about how the US government was supporting Israel’s assault — and what amounted to war crimes against the civilian population of Palestine.

I was also struck by just how blatantly the US mainstream media was deceiving the public about what was happening. I observed, for example, how the New York Times told the public that Israel launched this operation in self-defense after suffering ceaseless rocket attacks from Hamas, even though it was Israel that had violated the ceasefire. Indeed, the Times had initially reported Israel’s violation of the ceasefire, but subsequently omitted this fact from its accounts of how the violence began!

Appalled by the sheer magnitude of the lies and deceptions the public was being told by the government and media, I became determined to write a book to document what really happened and set the record straight.

However, I didn’t just want to tell the story of what happened during Operation Cast Lead. I wanted to help people see the bigger picture by covering the whole spectrum of issues.

I wanted to tell the story of why the conflict has gone on for so long, to identify the primary obstacle to peace and assess how to overcome it.

My own journey toward understanding what the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is really all about began in earnest after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. At the time, I was probably better informed about international affairs than most, but I was still naive enough that I ask myself, “Why would anybody do something like this?”

Unsatisfied with the Bush administration’s answer that it was because “they hate our freedom”, I began spending a lot of time researching, and my inquiries naturally led me to focus on US policy in the Middle East and, particularly, toward Israel and Palestine.

It quickly became obvious that one of the main reasons the Palestinians continue to suffer under Israel’s occupation regime is because its policies are supported by the government of the United States of America.

One question I struggled with, though, is how this was able to go on. How could the international community be so impotent in the face of such injustice, at best; or, worse, complicit in the wholesale violation of Palestinians’ rights?

How could the American people stand by and consent to their government’s policy of supporting Israel’s violations of international law and human rights abuses?

I initially assumed that people just didn’t care or were uninformed about the plight of the Palestinians. But the more I studied, the more I realized that the problem is not that most people are uniformed; it’s that they are so greatly mis-informed.

It’s not that people don’t know enough about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that so much of what they think they know just isn’t true.

This is certainly true for most Americans, who are continually inundated with propaganda narratives that, far from properly informing about thee true nature of the conflict, serves to manufacture their consent for US government policies aimed at sustaining the unacceptable status quo.

The official narratives propagated by the government and mainstream media during Operation Cast Lead were certainly no exception.

However, to tell the story of why the conflict persists today, I would also need to explain its root causes. So I splintered my book idea and in 2009 published a short book titled The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination: The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict.

It was two more years before I finally set out writing the book I originally had in mind after Operation Cast lead. It was May 2011, and President Barack Obama had given a speech outlining US policy. Once again, the media got it entirely wrong. The basic narrative was that Obama was more sympathetic toward the Palestinians than previous presidents and was pressuring Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The scarcely concealed reality was that, meaningless rhetoric aside, Obama was fully supportive of Israel’s policies and arguably more so than any previous president. This included supporting Israel’s settlement policies by demanding that the Palestinians negotiate with Israel “without preconditions”, meaning without a cessation of Israel’s illegal expansion of Jewish settlements!

Compelled to set the record straight, I began writing in earnest. I originally intended to submit my manuscript to publishers and hope one of them was interested in it. But I had also already self-published a book and kept this option in mind. Then, in 2012, as candidates were campaigning for the presidential election, I took a break from my work on the manuscript.

There was another story that I was compelled to tell in order to combat the dominating propaganda narrative at the time that the cause of the US housing bubble and the financial crisis it precipitated was an overabundance of liberty in the marketplace. To bust apart this statist nonsense, I took two weeks to write and two to publish the book Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Austrian vs. Keynesian Economics in the Financial Crisis, which shows how the fundamental cause of the bubble was the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policy.

In addition to telling an important story that needed to be told, it was a bit of an experiment for me that would help me determine how I would publish my book on the US role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Without spending a dime on marketing or advertising, my book on the housing bubble ended up getting a rave review in the Wall Street Journal-owned financial weekly Barron’s. Economics and books editor Gene Epstein described me as a “writer of rare skill” who had, in fewer than 100 pages, conveyed “more insight into the causes and cures of business cycles than most textbooks” while also making you laugh, qualifying it as a “must-read”.

That experience convinced me that I could get my message out there by publishing my own work, and I decided I would start my own imprint to publish my magnum opus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So that’s what I did!

Another outcome from that experience was that I befriended Mr. Epstein, who also shared a deep interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ended up writing the Introduction to Obstacle to Peace.

It was a project that took several more years to complete — a struggle, I can tell you, since during that time my wife and I also had a son and moved halfway around the world, leaving jobs behind to start a new chapter in our life’s adventure (again, a whole other story)!

But I persevered, and the result was Obstacle to Peace, published in July 2016 by my imprint, Worldview Publications.

Obstacle to Peace focuses primarily on events since the beginning of the so-called “peace process” through to the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a non-member state in 2012, while also presenting earlier historical context as necessary to understand why the conflict persists today.

It tells the story of how Israel and its superpower benefactor have long blocked implementation of the two-state solution, and how they have partnered to violently suppress Palestinian resistance to the occupation regime.

It also tells the story of how the US mainstream media—with a special focus on The New York Times—has effectively served the role of manufacturing consent for the US government’s policy of supporting Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians by systematically misinforming the American public about the true nature of the conflict.

Obstacle to Peace shatters mainstream propaganda narratives about the conflict, revealing the true reasons for its persistence and illuminating the path to a just peace.

What You’ll Learn in Obstacle to Peace

Here is just a small sampling of what you’ll learn from reading Obstacle to Peace:

  • How Israeli (and US) policies have strengthened Hamas, discouraged the group’s evolution toward non-violence, and deliberately provoked violent responses from Hamas and other armed groups in order to serve as a pretext for Israel to continue its oppressive occupation and settlement regime.
  • Why Israel has implemented an illegal policy of collectively punishing the civilian population of Gaza, and how it’s been able to do so with impunity for over a decade.
  • Why Israel really launched Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and how they amounted to military assaults on the defenseless civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
  • What the so-called “peace process” is, and how Israel and the US have always used it to maintain the status quo of occupation.
  • What “the two-state solution” really is, and how it differs dramatically from the goal of the US-led “peace process”.
  • Why Israel on May 31, 2010, attacked the humanitarian Freedom Flotilla that sought to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and why the US defended Israel’s killing of 9 peace activists on board the Mavi Marmara while the ship was still in international waters.
  • What must happen in order for the Palestinians to gain their freedom from Israel’s oppressive occupation regime, as well as for there to be a realistic hope of Palestinian refugees ever being able to return to their homeland in what is today Israel.
  • How and why the mainstream media’s reporting on the conflict is so grossly distorted, effectively serving the role of manufacturing consent for the US policy of supporting Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
  • How to decipher the euphemistic language used by government officials and the media to deceive the public.
  • How the UN helped create the conflict, and how Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon played a duplicitous role, serving Israel and the US rather than the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.
  • What the UN Goldstone Report was, what its findings and recommendations were, the true reasons why it so upset Israel and the US, and why their claims that the report has been debunked and retracted are utterly false.
  • How, despite expressing rhetorical support for a two-state solution and criticizing Israeli settlements, the US under President Barack Obama continued the longstanding policy of previous administrations of supporting Israel’s efforts to prevent them from exercising their rights.

And much more!

Who Should Read Obstacle to Peace?

Let me begin by saying who should not read this book:

  • Close-minded individuals who are unwilling to question their underlying beliefs about the conflict and who are impervious to facts and reason.
  • Anyone unwilling to make the minimal commitment in time required to gain a thorough understanding of why the conflict persists and what must be done to end it. (I’ve done all the hard work for you!)
You’ll get a ton of value out of Obstacle to Peace, on the other hand, if any of the following apply:

  • You are a concerned citizen of the world who cares about this issue, but feel confused by all the conflicting information and would like to truly understand what the conflict is all about and why it persists.
  • You are already well-read about the subject and are seeking a fresh perspective and valuable new insights.
  • You are active in the struggle for peace and justice and would like to empower yourself with the knowledge to become an effective voice for peace.
  • You are a journalist or blogger with an intense desire to educate yourself about this subject and share knowledge with others.
  • You are an academic seeking scholarly, fully referenced resources on this subject.
  • You are a policymaker or other person of influence who recognizes that US policy must change if there is to be any hope of peace.

More About What’s Inside

Obstacle to Peace features a Foreword by Richard Falk, professor emeritus at Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. Mr. Falk explains why Obstacle to Peace is an important contribution to the literature on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

It also features an Introduction by Gene Epstein, former economics and books editor at Barron’s, the financial weekly. As Mr. Epstein explains, “people who would benefit most from reading his book will put up a wall of resistance against the simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense he offers.” He urges readers whose only familiarity with the conflict is what they’ve been told by the government and media to be willing to keep and open mind and question the beliefs they’ve come to hold.

Obstacle to Peace is 538 pages of hard-hitting and meticulously documented analysis, with 68 pages of endnote references.

It also contains a thorough index, making it an invaluable resource for researchers and activists.

It’s available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle, or ePub editions.

What Others Have to Say about Obstacle to Peace

Jeremy Hammond’s carefully documented and highly informative study of how Washington has joined Israel in undermining the efforts to achieve a peaceful political settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict is a welcome and timely contribution, and one that focuses directly on a salient issue, all too often evaded. Unless and until US policy shifts from the obstructionism that he details convincingly, this grim and destructive confrontation is likely to take a terrible toll on the Palestinian victims, with harmful consequences for the Israeli occupiers as well, probably reaching well beyond. Noam Chomsky

Author of "Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel & The Palestinians"

Given the intense focus and the passions aroused by the conflict it is rare to find a book or article that says something new but Jeremy Hammond’s Obstacle to Peace: The U.S. Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict does just that, deconstructing the prevailing narrative on the Middle East while also explaining in meticulous and fully documented detail why and how a succession of United States administrations has actually become the greatest impediment to a just settlement that would benefit both Palestinians and Israelis….To my mind his book is essential reading on Israel-Palestine…. Philip Giraldi

Former CIA officer and columnist, The Unz Review

In our days of darkness, spreading ignorance, and absence of serious debate in public forums, we can take hope from the fact that some scholars still produce serious and informative books on the most critical issues of our time. If in the future policymakers again seek the guidance of truth, they will have the information at hand. One such book of truth is Jeremy R. Hammond’s just published Obstacle to Peace, a closely reasoned, heavily documented (68 pages of footnotes), fully indexed, readable book…. Paul Craig Roberts

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and Editor of the Wall Street Journal

Successive American administrations from both parties have doomed Palestinians to a series of Bantustans in the West Bank and what amounts to an open air prison in the Gaza Strip. In turn, Washington has emboldened right-wing forces in Israel, plunging the country into a zero-sum game with no clear resolution in sight. Over the course of a book that is as meticulously detailed as it is readable, Jeremy Hammond explains how the US approach he correctly identifies as rejectionist is closing the door on peace in the Holy Land. We must learn the historical lessons Hammond outlines in Obstacle to Peace before that door is nailed shut for good. Max Blumenthal

Author of "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel"

I read Obstacle to Peace with great interest. Hammond is a knowledgeable and insightful writer.  His analysis is sharp and original, refusing to allow mythology to supersede reality. We often discuss Israel-Palestine with too little attention to the central role of US policy. This book illustrates why such an omission is a terrible mistake. Steven Salaita

Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech and author of six books, including "Israel’s Dead Soul" and "The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for Canaan"

Outstanding. This highly informative and meticulously researched book is a valuable resource for every scholar and activist. The flair with which the book has been written makes it accessible to those who are not as familiar with the Israel-Palestinian issue but who are eager to perfect their knowledge. Hammond’s illuminating and invaluable book deserves a wide audience. Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Independent Researcher and Foreign Policy Analyst

Obstacle to Peace must be reckoned with by all those who thought that the peace process initiated at Oslo in 1993 and overseen since then by the United States would bring forth both a Palestinian state and a long sought peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Scott McConnell

Barron's

When I first came to Palestine in 2003, I was naïve in many ways and had to start from the beginning. My previous work in South Africa helped to open up my eyes and see the deepening of apartheid in the Middle East, but what was missing was a book like Obstacle to Peace. The book is a bridge to a real peace process, unlike the vacuous diplomacy that continues while the colonization and theft does not stop and the apartheid is manifested. Obstacle to Peace helps those of us concerned with peace and justice to be firmly rooted when we speak out. Mats Svensson

Former Swedish diplomat and author of "Crimes, Victims and Witnesses: Apartheid in Palestine"

Obstacle to Peace is a lengthy and involved read, yet readily accessible. It can and should serve as a reference work, a compendium of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Jim Miles

The Palestine Chronicle

Jeremy Hammond is a fearless independent journalist who does not allow hypocrisy and maneuvers to escape his critical eye. His book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is a sharp analysis of America’s Middle East policy which shields Israel’s crimes against Palestinians. This book should be read by anyone interested in knowing about the agony of Palestinians. Deepak Tripathi

Author of "Imperial Designs: War, Humiliation and the Making of History"

In Obstacle to Peace, Mr. Hammond provides a meticulously documented and compelling narrative of the long running Israel-Palestine conflict and the role that the United States has played in thwarting potential solutions. This work not only tells the story but also provides a valuable research vehicle for policy makers and commentators alike. It is a must for every bookshelf on this topic. Don Liebich

Author of "Fault Lines: The Layman’s Guide to Understanding America’s Role in the Ever-Changing Middle East"

Amazon Customer Reviews

Tour de Force
This book is a tour de force. Hammond’s rich, fact-based analysis extends well beyond platitudes to a deep integration of historical and contemporary research based on sources that could hardly be disputed.

— Richard G Ellefritz

Detailing the US role in blocking Middle East Peace
This articulate volume shows in well-documented detail how the US has colluded with Israel in blocking peace with the Palestinians…. Hammond is a resourceful journalist who uncovers important facts previously undisclosed by a biased mainstream media.

— L. Michael Hager

Obstacle To Peace is one of the very best books out there…
I have been a serious student of this issue since 1967. I have read nearly every book available on the subject from all sides. Obstacle To Peace by Jeremy R. Hammond is one of the very best books out there for giving people a very clear and concise understanding of why, when both sides say they want peace, after all these years there is no peace…. Kudos, Mr. Hammond. A brave and much needed effort.

— Steven Lance

A fantastic read from start to finish
Hammond’s style and his extensive use of direct, contextualized quotations is delightful even when the content itself is infuriating. Before reading this book, I already had an extensive knowledge of [the subject] up to Oslo, but it was not necessarily required to enjoy the book, as Hammond takes time to give more than adequate historical context whenever it is needed. This book makes an excellent companion to Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby” and Neil Caplan’s “Contested Histories”.

— Anarchy In Black

clear exposition of a very difficult, complicated topic
Very good book; thoroughly researched, and factual; provides a solid refutation to much of the biased, inaccurate, and blatant propaganda that the western media has offered.

— James Shea

Very well researched and a must read for anyone wanting to know what transpired in Palestine over the last 150 years.

— Guy St Hilaire

The world would be a better safer place for everyone…
Mr Hammond has destroyed every Zionist argument with this thoroughly researched and cogently argued book…. If Americans understood the truth, they would not stand for Washington’s policies for a second. The world would be a better safer place for everyone. I hope millions read this fine book.

— Morley Evans

Shocking read!
Stunning information. It is … shocking, an eye opener to problems between Israel & Palestine and the U.S. role in it. A must read.

— MarMar

A great book. Gives a detailed description looking from the “other side” of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The detail, both verbal and numerical, is massive. Extensive references to back up the facts quoted. I believe that anyone wishing to understand this conflict would benefit from reading this book.

— DJE

Strong data
I am a Jewish student at the University of Oregon and a political science major with an strong interest in the Israel/Palestine conflict. After 3 years studying this issue I was so please to find “Obstacle to Peace”. Well written with lots of data that can easily be checked. This book has helped me in discussions with other students, to bring forth the real events and how they played out.

— Best Burglar

Excellent book, essential reading
Even after having read only the first chapter of Jeremy Hammond’s “Obstacle to Peace” I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal about the situation in Palestine/Israel. I thought I was pretty well informed about it, but Mr. Hammond’s book has given a lot of information that I didn’t know. I can also say that it has been thoroughly researched & excellently well written (easy to read). I believe it should be mandatory reading for all High school students in the USA, & all around the world, but especially in the USA. Thank you, Jeremy Hammond! 🙂

— Amazon Customer

Five Stars
Excellent read! Full of facts that most Americans are not aware of!

— Amal Flefel

Five Stars
Very worthy read.

— Dennis Dvernychuk

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About the Author

Jeremy R. Hammond

Jeremy R. Hammond

The government perpetually lies to the public about important issues. The mainstream media dutifully serve to manufacture consent for criminal policies.

I free people’s minds by exposing state propaganda intended to keep them in servitude to the politically and financially powerful. My writings empower readers with the knowledge to see through the deceptions and fight for a better future, for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

I’m an independent political analyst, journalist, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, and author of several books. I’m also a coach who helps writers communicate their ideas more effectively to make a greater positive impact.

Learn more about my 10-Step Formula for Effective Journalism writing coaching program.

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