From the New York Times, Nov. 29, 2016

By Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States

     We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration.  It has been President Obama's aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.

     That prospect is now in grave doubt.  I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.  The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.

     Back in 1978, during my administration, Israel's prime minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt's president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David Accords.  That agreement was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 war.  The key words of that resolution were "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can life in security" and the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

     The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt and Israel.  And those two foundational concepts have been the basis for the policy of the United States government and the international community ever since.

     This was why, in 2009, at the beginning of his first administration, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a complete freeze on the building of settlements, constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory.  Later, in 2011, the president made clear that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines," and added, "negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Israeli borders with Palestine."

     Today, however, 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in the danger of abrogation.  Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands.  Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel.  Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel's national elections.

     Meanwhile, about 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws.  This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.

     The Carter Center has continued to support a two state solution by hosting discussion this month with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, searching for an avenue towards peace.  Based on the positive feedback from those talks, I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

     The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict.  It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications.

     Security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right to live in peace and security.  Further measures should include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.

     A strong Security Council resolution would underscore that the Geneva Conventions and other human rights protections apply to all parties at all times.  It would also support any agreement reached by the parties regarding Palestinian refugees. 

     The combined weight of the United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy.  These steps would bolster moderate Palestinian leadership, while sending a clear assurance to the Israeli public of the worldwide recognition of Israel and its security. 

     This is the best--and now, perhaps, the only--means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people.  Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of American's support for a two-state solution. 

     The primary foreign policy goal of my life has been to help bring peace to Israel and it neighbors.  That September in 1978, I was proud to say to a joint session of Congress, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."  As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat sat in the balcony above us, the members of Congress stood and applauded the two heroic peacemakers.

     I fear for the spirit of Camp David.  We must not squander this chance.   

Views: 249

Comment by koshersalaami on November 29, 2016 at 5:20pm

Believe it or not, I could support most of this. However, there's a problem with this, because there is a difference between turning the Settlements over to the Palestinians and going back to the 1967 border. That border bisected Jerusalem, with the holiest site in Judaism not only not in Jewish hands but no Jew was permitted to worship there. Not no Israeli, no Jew. 

It won't matter which portion of the Jewish population of Israel you ask, including the Left (what's left of it). East Jerusalem is not on the table. Israel does not administer the top of the Temple Mount where El Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock are - that is under Arab control, I believe Jordanian. If there needs to be a way for Palestinians to access that site, fine, assuming no one uses that opportunity for a terrorist act. 

Trying to restore that part of the 1967 border would be political suicide to anyone who tried it in the US. The response would be well beyond current support for AIPAC. The liberal Jewish religious movements generally are against the settlements, but none would dream of giving up the Wall. Israel would prefer perpetual war to doing that. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on November 29, 2016 at 5:54pm

Israel would prefer perpetual war to doing that.

As opposed to the current incremental genocide?  Okay, sure... why not go full on Nazi (screw that sissy, left wing "neo" crap) and use some Zyklon B on those pesky Palestinians who wish to pray at the THIRD MOST HOLIEST SITE IN ISLAM (so screw a whole damn bunch of your " If there needs to be a way for Palestinians to access that site" Zionazi bullshit).

BTW, good to see you backing and agreeing with Trump's move on Jerusalem, KosherBaloney... not to mention your Nazi-ish propensity to ignore things like the UN's 24 to 6 vote in October that Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram AlSharif are Muslim NOT Jewish.  (...and we all know that Israel is AGAIN breaking the treaty that it signed in 1967 with Jordan.  No surprises there.  Israel lies constantly and the entire world knows it.)

  

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 29, 2016 at 5:55pm

When the major Palestinian orgs and all muslim-majority nations in the area formally recognise Israel, i will be right there w you, ben, calliung for the US to recognise Palestine. Until then, not a chance. 

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 29, 2016 at 5:55pm

Palestine and Hamas must recognize Israel and Israel must remove all settlements from the West Bank and open port and airports in Gaza.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on November 29, 2016 at 6:07pm

BTW, Wolfman, Israel isn't now insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a state, but as a JEWISH STATE (i.e. "the nation-state of the Jewish people").

Wolfman should also be doubly glad because that the Palestinians DID already recognize the State of Israel... BACK IN 1993, FFS!

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 29, 2016 at 6:17pm

Amy I think Hamas holds the majority of political power in Palestine and they haven't signed on to the 1993 agreement.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 29, 2016 at 6:18pm

jmac has it right.  

Only an anti-Semite would singly object to Israel as a Jewish State knowing full-well that every other nation in the immediate area are self-designated Muslim States. To single out Israel in this way, ignoring the officially Muslim States' self-designations, is as bigoted as it gets.

Comment by nerd cred on November 29, 2016 at 6:19pm

the THIRD MOST HOLIEST SITE IN ISLAM

and that would be the FIRST MOST HOLIEST SITE IN JUDAISM. But Islam counts more than 3x Judaism, right?

Apparently you can only read what you agree with, amy and you will come back, if at all, with nothing but name-calling. But hurry up, bensen doesn't agree with me either - or comprehend what he doesn't agree with - so I'm going to be deleted pretty quick.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 29, 2016 at 6:26pm

Jon, that anti-Semitic bigotry goes both ways.  We all know that there are Ultra Conservative European and American Jews living in Israel who endorse the genocide of all Arab and Muslim citizens in Israel and Palestine.  That minority of Ultra Conservative Jews represents the lynch pin of the political coalition that currently constitutes the majority government of Israel.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 29, 2016 at 6:38pm

jmac    of course some Jews  there/here are bigots.

You're misreading me.

I said:  Only an anti-Semite would singly object to Israel as a Jewish State knowing full-well that every other nation in the immediate area are self-designated Muslim States. To single out Israel in this way, ignoring the officially Muslim States' self-designations, is as bigoted as it gets.

Only bigotry can explain the position that says 

Iran, Saudi, et.al., are legitimately officially Muslim states and object to Israel being officially a Jewish State.

The burden of proof lies w the person objecting...to explain Precisely Why Israel should be the sole regional exception among all those nations w self-designated religious/cultural official affiliations. 

There's simply no other option for the person not wanting to be told s/he is, and seen as, an anti-Semite.

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