Jimmy Carter, it appears, needed a scapegoat for his failed presidency and Israel served as a convenient target. His new book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is a shameful tract filled with factual inaccuracies, and blatant one-sidededness. His pent up frustration with his inability to influence U.S. policy on behalf of his Arab friends prompted the publication of this libelous book.
Lest the readers forget, in March 1977, just months after his inauguration, Carter made his first foreign policy speech in which he called for a “Palestinian Homeland.”
Carter’s presidency, widely renowned for its crowning achievement, The Camp David Accords, which established a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, was not however, a Carter initiative.
Carter’s intentions and policy commitments were geared towards arranging a Geneva Peace Conference with all the parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute present, in addition to the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
Carter dispatched Cyrus Vance, his Secretary of State, to Moscow to get the Soviets to co-sponsor the conference. On May 21, 1977, Secretary Vance and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko issued a joint statement that the “elimination of the continued source of tension in the Middle East constitutes one of the primary tasks in ensuring peace and international security.” The statement specified moreover the conviction of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. that in order to achieve the goal, “an important role belonged to the Geneva Conference on the Middle East.”
Carter decided to coordinate his Middle East efforts with the Soviets on the premise that keeping them out of the picture could provoke them to undermine any American sponsored moves. This typical Carteresque strategy of appeasing dictatorships and dictators (Carter never met a dictator he did not like) backfired time and again.
In the case of the Geneva Conference, Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s President, who five years earlier expelled the Soviets from Egypt, did not want the Soviets involved in negotiations, much less in a multilateral negotiations. Sadat understood that the Soviets would press the Arabs to be uncompromising (he also knew that Carter would press Israel for concessions) and was turned off by the thought that radical voices in Syria and Iraq would undermine Egypt’s position as the leader of the Arab world.
Sadat was dead-set against going to Geneva. And, in order to scuttle the idea he had to get Israel to reject it.
On November 7, 1977, Anwar Sadat made an historic trip to Jerusalem providing Israelis with one of the most euphoric days in their collective memory. Sadat’s dramatic move and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s personal opposition to Geneva and Soviet participation scuttled the idea of the conference. Carter quickly jumped on the Begin-Sadat bandwagon and the rest is history. It is important to acknowledge that the Camp David Accords – Carter’s premier presidential achievement – happened in spite of his misjudgment.
In a recent interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Carter claimed, rather unconvincingly, that the title Palestine: Peace not Apartheid only pertained to the “West Bank and Gaza and not to Israel itself.” If that is the case, it must be Carter not George Bush who does not read newspapers. Apparently Carter forgot about Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip for which Israel has been rewarded with increasing and continual Kassam rocket attacks on Israeli towns in the western Negev.
Palestinian-Arab terrorism with its strain of suicide bombers that targeted Israeli civilians, particularly children, is of no interest to “human rights Jimmuh.” Carter, it seems, has amnesia when it comes to recalling the murderous actions of Palestinian terrorists led by his late friend, Yasser Arafat. (Carter volunteered to serve as his advisor on how to deal with the U.S.).
As far as Carter is concerned Israel has contravened all UN resolutions and other agreements, in its eagerness to grab Palestinian lands. The fact that suicide-bombers killed nearly 500 Israelis, in 2002 alone, forcing the Israeli military to reoccupy most of the major cities Israel handed over to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo Accords, in order to protect its civilians, is not within Carter’s scope of understanding.
Israeli closures and security checks as well as the security barrier are meant to forestall Palestinian-Arab terrorism. The Palestinian hardships Carter bemoans were instituted after the al-Aqsa intifada that meant to destroy the Jewish State. Until the late 1980’s hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers had easy access to Israel and to the jobs they held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and elsewhere throughout the country. Israel was forced to close its doors to Palestinian wage earners for the sake of self-preservation. Suicide-bombings engineered by Arafat and his henchmen ended a long period of growing prosperity among Palestinian-Arabs.
Carter’s deep and irrational bias against Israel is illuminated by his charges that the Palestinians-Arabs have always been ready to settle for a two-state solution and that UN Resolution 242 called upon Israel to return to the 1949 ceasefire lines. Israel, in fact, accepted the Peel Commission recommendation in 1938; it accepted the UN Partition Plan of 1947, and called for the implementation of Resolution 242 in 1967. All three were rejected by the Arab states then, and Arafat rejected the far-reaching concessions Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered at Camp David II in July 2000. In each case the Arabs and Palestinians responded with terrorism.
In 1937, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, Hitler’s friend and a partner in the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, incited the Arab Revolt - terrorism a la 1936-1939. In 1947 the Palestinian Arabs rejected Partition and conspired war against the nascent Jewish State. And, in 1967, the Arab Summit in Khartoum answered Israel’s call for peace with the Three No’s: to peace, negotiation, and recognition of Israel.
At Camp David II President Bill Clinton recognized Barak’s concessions of more than 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to territories Israel was prepared to give the Palestinians on the Negev’s border with Egypt, and East Jerusalem as the capital of Arab Palestine. Arafat rejected Barak’s offer, predicated on Arafat’s end-of-conflict declaration, much to the dismay of President Clinton. Arafat, believing Israel lacked the will or resolve to fight, launched the al-Aqsa Intifada, hoping to bring down the Jewish State.
Jimmy Carter totally misread UN resolution 242 and NPR’s Terry Gross let the interview, replete with this and other inaccuracies, unfold without a word of contest. According to former British Ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon, who introduced the resolution to the Council, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.”
Arthur Goldberg, U.S. Ambassador to the UN at the time stated that, “The notable omissions – which were not accidental – in regards to withdrawal are the words “the” or “all” and the June 1967 lines…the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of the withdrawal.”
The resolution is steadfastly clear in its call for the Palestinians to make peace with Israel. When Egypt and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel they received all the territories demanded. The Palestinian Arabs insist today, as yesteryear, on “all” of Palestine or “none.” They prefer to destroy the Jewish State rather than legitimately come to a peaceful resolution with Israel. For the Palestinians today it is about a religious war - Jihad against the infidels - and not a territorial claim. Carter has yet to discover that calls for Jihad are not comparable to Sunday school teachings of love and tolerance in the Bible belt or in Plains, Georgia.
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