CARTER, Jimmy. Former US president & Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid"

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924) served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981 and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize (the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office). Prior to becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia senate  followed by the governorship of the State of Georgia  from 1971 to 1975 and was a peanut farmer and naval officer (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter ).

 

1. Jimmy Carter in his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” (2006): “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land…The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.” [1, 2].

2. Jimmy Carter speech about his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” (2006): “Some people have said the title is provocative, and I accept that categorization, but I don’t consider the word “provocative” to be a negative description, because it’s designed to provoke discussion and analysis and debate in a country where debate and discussion is almost completely absent if it involves any criticism at all of the policies of Israel. And I think the book is very balanced.

Secondly, the words “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” were carefully chosen by me. First of all, it’s Palestine, the area of Palestinians. It doesn’t refer to Israel. I’ve never and would imply that Israel is guilty of any form of apartheid in their own country, because Arabs who live inside Israel have the same voting rights and the same citizenship rights as do the Jews who live there.

And the next word is “peace.” And my hope is that the publication of this book will not only precipitate debate, as I’ve already mentioned, but also will rejuvenate an absolutely dormant or absent peace process. For the last six years there’s not been one single day of good faith negotiations between Israelis and their neighbors, the Palestinians. And this is absolutely a departure from what has happened under all previous presidents since Israel became a nation. We’ve all negotiated or attempted to negotiate peace agreements. That has been totally absent now for six years. So “peace.”

And then the last two words, “not apartheid.” The alternative to peace is apartheid, not inside Israel, to repeat myself, but in the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem, the Palestinian territory. And there, apartheid exists in its more despicable forms, that Palestinians are deprived of basic human rights. Their land has been occupied and then confiscated and then colonized by the Israeli settlers. And they have now more than 205 settlements in the West Bank itself. And what has happened is, over a period of years, the Israelis have connected settlements with highways, and those highways make the West Bank look like a honeycomb and maybe a spider web. You can envision it. And in many cases, most cases, the Palestinians are prevented from using the highways at all, and in many cases, even from crossing the highways.

I’d like to make one other point. When Israel was founded back in 1948 by the United Nations, Israel was allocated 56% of what we would call “the holy land” between Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. After the wars, when the Arabs tried to destroy Israel, treaties were worked out, and Israel wound up with 77% of the holy land. 22% was designated as the West Bank, and 1% only, Gaza. So at the optimum case, as recognized by all the United Nations resolutions, Israel would wind up with 77% of the area, and the Palestinians only 23%, including Gaza and the West Bank. And remember that Gaza is on the sea coast, where the Philistines lived during the time of King David, and it’s separated by 40 kilometers, about 30 miles, from the rest of Palestinian territory. So in order for a Palestinian to go from Gaza to the West Bank, they have to go through 30 miles of Israeli land, though that’s just a geographical description.

This book is designed to restimulate the prospect for peace. And I’m going to just read three options that Israelis face. And I’d like to say at the beginning that none of them are completely acceptable to all Israelis. But for the last 40 years, a strong majority of Israelis have preferred to relinquish Arab land in return for peace. And this sentiment prevailed until the time when Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by an irate Israeli who didn’t like what Rabin and Shimon Peres had done at Oslo in negotiating a peace agreement for which they both received the Nobel Peace Prize.” [1].

3. Jimmy Carter in an interview in Apartheid Israel re the apartheid comparison: “When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa." [3, 4].

[1]. Jimmy Carter, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” (Simon & Schuster; 2006): http://www.amazon.com/Palestine-Peace-Apartheid-Jimmy-Carter/dp/0743285026 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Peace_Not_Apartheid .

[2]. Jimmy Carter, quoted in interview, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid… Jimmy Carter in his own words “, Democracy Now, 30 November 2006: http://www.democracynow.org/2006/11/30/palestine_peace_not_apartheid_jimmy_carter .

[3]. Jimmy Carter quoted in Edward. C. Corrigan, “Israel and apartheid: a fair comparison?”, rabble.ca, 2 March 2010: http://www.rabble.ca/news/2010/03/israel-and-apartheid-fair-comparison .

[4].  Jimmy Carter, quoted in “Voices against Israel’s apartheid system”, Green Left Weekly, 10 April 2011: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/47300 .


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