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Excerpts from Jimmy Carter's book, "Peace Not Apartheid

This item was obtained from Norman Finkelstein's website, with appreciation.

Jimmy Carter, Peace Not Apartheid (New York: 2006)
Some brief observations


The historical chapters of Peace Not Apartheid are rather thin, filled
with errors small and large, as well as tendentious and untenable
interpretations. But few persons will be reading it for the history.

It is what Carter has to say about the present that will interest the
reading public and the media (assuming the book is not ignored). It can
be said with certainty that Israel’s apologists will not be pleased.
Although Carter includes criticisms of the Palestinians to effect
balance, it is clear that he holds Israel principally responsible for
the impasse in the peace process. The most scathing criticisms of Israel
come in Chapter 16 (“The Wall as a Prison”). One hopes that this chapter
(and the concluding “Summary”) will be widely disseminated.

Below I reproduce some of Carter’s key statements (my boldface).

Norman G. Finkelstein (10 November 2006)
www.NormanFinkelstein.com

***

Most Arab regimes have accepted the permanent existence of Israel as an
indisputable fact and are no longer calling for an end to the State of
Israel, having contrived a common statement at an Arab summit in 2002
that offers peace and normal relations with Israel within its
acknowledged international borders and in compliance with other U.N.
Security Council resolutions. (p. 14)

Since 1924, Shebaa Farms has been treated as Lebanese territory, but
Syria seized the area in the 1950s and retained control until Israel
occupied the Farms – along with the Golan Heights – in 1967. The
inhabitants and properties were Lebanese, and Lebanon has never accepted
Syria’s control of the Farms. Although Syria has claimed the area in the
past, Syrian officials now state that it is part of Lebanon. This
position supports the Arab claim that Israel still occupies Lebanese
territory. (pp. 98-9)

The best offer to the Palestinians [at Camp David in December 2000] – by
Clinton, not Barak – had been to withdraw 20 percent of the settlers,
leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, covering about 10 percent
of the occupied land, including land to be “leased” and portions of the
Jordan River valley and East Jerusalem.
The percentage figure is misleading, since it usually includes only the
actual footprints of the settlements. There is a zone with a radius of
about four hundred meters around each settlement within which
Palestinians cannot enter. In addition, there are other large areas that
would have been taken or earmarked to be used exclusively by Israel,
roadways that connect the settlements to one another and to Jerusalem,
and “life arteries” that provide the settlers with water, sewage,
electricity, and communications. These range in width from five hundred
to four thousand meters, and Palestinians cannot use or cross many of
these connecting links. This honeycomb of settlements and their
interconnecting conduits effectively divide the West Bank into at least
two noncontiguous areas and multiple fragments, often uninhabitable or
even unreachable, and control of the Jordan Valley denies Palestinians
any direct access eastward into Jordan. About one hundred military
checkpoints completely surround Palestinians and block routes going into
or between Palestinian communities, combined with an unaccountable
number of other roads that are permanently closed with large concrete
cubes or mounds of earth and rocks.
There was no possibility that any Palestinian leader could accept such
terms and survive, but official statements from Washington and Jerusalem
were successful in placing the entire onus for the failure on Yasir
Arafat. (pp. 151-2)

A new round of talks was held at Taba in January 2001, during the last
few days of the Clinton presidency, between President Arafat and the
Israeli foreign minister, and it was later claimed that the Palestinians
rejected a “generous offer” put forward by Prime Minister Barak with
Israel keeping only 5 percent of the West Bank. The fact is that no such
offers were ever made. Barak later said, “It was plain to me that there
was no chance of reaching a settlement at Taba. Therefore I said there
would be no negotiations and there would be no delegation and there
would be no official discussions and no documentation. Nor would
Americans be present in the room. The only thing that took place at Taba
were nonbinding contacts between senior Israelis and senior
Palestinians. (p. 152)

In April 2003 a “Roadmap” for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
was announced by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on behalf of the
United States, the United Nations, Russia, and the European Union (known
as the Quartet).…The Palestinians accepted the road map in its entirety
but the Israeli government announced fourteen caveats and prerequisites,
some of which would preclude any final peace talks. (p. 159)

“Imprisonment wall” is more descriptive than “security fence.” (p. 174)

Gaza has maintained a population growth rate of 4.7 percent annually,
one of the highest in the world, so more than half its people are less
than fifteen years old. They are being strangled since the Israeli
“withdrawal,” surrounded by a separation barrier that is penetrated only
by Israeli-controlled checkpoints, with just a single opening (for
personnel only) into Egypt’s Sinai as their access to the outside world.
There have been no moves by Israel to permit transportation by sea or by
air. Fishermen are not permitted to leave the harbor, workers are
prevented from going to outside jobs, the import or export of food and
other goods is severely restricted and often cut off completely, and the
police, teachers, nurses, and social workers are deprived of salaries.
Per capita income has decreased 40 percent during the last three years,
and the poverty rate has reached 70 percent. The U.N. Special Rapporteur
on the Right to Food has stated that acute malnutrition in Gaza is
already on the same scale as that seen in the poorer countries of the
Southern Sahara, with more than half of Palestinian families eating only
one meal a day. (p. 176).

The area between the segregation barrier and the Israeli border has been
designated a closed military region for an indefinite period of time.
Israeli directives state that every Palestinian over the age of twelve
living in the closed area has to obtain a “permanent resident permit”
from the civil administration to enable them to continue to live in
their own homes. They are considered to be aliens, without the rights of
Israeli citizens.
To summarize: whatever territory Israel decides to confiscate will be on
its side of the wall, but Israelis will still retain control of the
Palestinians who will be on the other side of the barrier, enclosed
between it and Israel’s forces in the Jordan River valley. (pp. 192-3)

The wall ravages many places along its devious route that are important
to Christians. In addition to enclosing Bethlehem in one of its most
notable intrusions, an especially heartbreaking division is on the
southern slope of the Mount of Olives, a favorite place for Jesus and
his disciples, and very near Bethany, where they often visited Mary,
Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. There is a church named for one of
the sisters, Santa Marta Monastery, where Israel’s thirty-foot concrete
wall cuts through the property. The house of worship is now on the
Jerusalem side, and its parishioners are separated from it because they
cannot get permits to enter Jerusalem…. Its priest, Father Claudio
Ghilardi, says, “For nine hundred years we have lived here under
Turkish, British, Jordanian, and Israeli governments, and no one has
ever stopped people coming to pray. It is scandalous. This is not about
a barrier. It is a border. Why don’t they speak the truth?”
Countering Israeli arguments that the wall is to keep Palestinian
suicide bombers from Israel, Father Claudio adds a comment that
describes the path of the entire barrier: “The Wall is not separating
Palestinians from Jews; rather Palestinians from Palestinians.” Nearby
are three convents that will also be cut off from the people they serve.
The 2,000 Palestinian Christians have lost their place of worship and
their spiritual center. (pp. 194-5)

International human rights organizations estimate that since 1967 more
than 630,000 Palestinians (about 20 percent of the total population) in
the occupied territories have been detained at some time by the
Israelis, arousing deep resentment among the families involved. Although
the vast majority of prisoners are men, there are a large number of
women and children being held. Between the ages of twelve and fourteen,
children can be sentenced for a period of up to six months, and after
the age of fourteen Palestinian children are tried as adults, a
violation of international law. (pp. 196-7)

The unwavering official policy of the United States since Israel became
a state has been that its borders must coincide with those prevailing
from 1949 until 1967 (unless modified by mutually agreeable land swaps),
specified in the unanimously adopted U.N. Resolution 242, which mandates
Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories. This obligation was
reconfirmed by Israel’s leaders in agreements negotiated in 1978 at Camp
David and in 1993 at Oslo, for which they received the Nobel Peace
Prize, and both of these commitments were officially ratified by the
Israeli government. Also, as a member of the International Quartet that
includes Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union, America
supports the Roadmap for Peace, which espouses exactly the same
requirements. Palestinian leaders unequivocally accepted this proposal,
but Israel has officially rejected its key provisions with unacceptable
caveats and prerequisites.
….
The overriding problem is that, for more than a quarter century, the
actions of some Israeli leaders have been in direct conflict with the
official policies of the United States, the international community, and
their own negotiated agreements.…Israel’s continued control and
colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a
comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land. In order to perpetuate
the occupation, Israeli forces have deprived their unwilling subjects of
basic human rights. No objective person could personally observe
existing conditions in the West Bank and dispute these statements. (pp.
207-9)

The United States has used its U.N. Security Council veto more than
forty times to block resolutions critical of Israel. Some of these
vetoes have brought international discredit on the United States, and
there is little doubt that the lack of a persistent effort to resolve
the Palestinian issue is a major source of anti-American sentiment and
terrorist activity throughout the Middle East and the Islamic world.
(pp. 209-10)

The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East
only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international
law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the
wishes of a majority of its own citizens – and honors its own previous
commitments – by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must
pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions.
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. (p. 216)
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