Jimmy Carter Urges Obama To Take These Steps To Help Bring Peace Between Israel & Palestine


Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat at Camp David, 1978

His quest for peace is fearless, unrelenting, unyielding, and never-ending. A truly great man. Thank you, President Carter.

Almost 40 years after leaving office, the 39th President of the United States Jimmy Carter continues to wage peace. In a USA Today editorial last week, former President Carter hopes President Obama will uses his  power and voice to influence peace between Israel and Palestine, while Obama is still in office.

In 1978, President Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, facilitated the Camp David Accords helping to bring peace between Israel and Egypt. The two countries have been at peace ever since. Today, President Carter would like to see that same kind of treaty evolve between Israel and Palestine as he continues to speak out and write about the conflict. Carter not only expresses his concerns; he offers solutions. Here are excerpts from President Carter’s USA Today piece published March 17.

Since the time of President Harry Truman, the United States has assisted Israel, including persistent efforts to forge peace agreements with her neighbors. Our government has also vetoed more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, including many that were supported unanimously by all other Security Council members, and for several decades our support has included massive economic and military aid, amounting to about $8 million per day. This financial commitment is now being renewed, unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides to wait and conclude the deal with the next president.

At the same time, the U.S. has joined Europe, the United Nations, the Arab League and almost all other nations in espousing basic principles relating to peace and justice in the region, including a two-state solution and opposition to Israel’s policy of occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The future prospect for this preferred solution can be greatly enhanced if President Obama spells out its advantages before leaving office.

As he writes, former President Carter discusses the Camp David meetings:

During peace talks at Camp David in 1978, much of our discussion was focused on Israel’s support of U.N. Resolution 242, adopted unanimously by the Security Council in November 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. The key phrase was reaffirmed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the final agreement: “The inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security.” In his 1990 memoir, former secretary of State Dean Rusk explained the U.S. interpretation: “We never contemplated any significant grant of territory to Israel as a result of the June 1967 war.” This has been the general policy of our country’s government and the world community since that time.

Carter brings up statements by President Obama on the related issue:

“Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.” President Obama, 2009

In 2011, President Obama also made a strong statement about the Israel/Palestine conflict. The current president stated:

“The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.” — President Obama, 2011

Former President Carter points out some ideas for a declaration:

“It should cover the central issues in dispute, including the borders of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s guaranteed security. It might include a reiteration of resolution 446, which was passed in 1979 when I was president and affirmed the applicability of the Geneva Conventions in the occupied territory. A specific timeline should be set for the delineation of borders between the two states, with the U.S. proposal on permanent borders being stated publicly, after being shared with both Israel and the Palestinians in private.”

Even though he thinks there is little prospect of a breakthrough during the remaining months of President Obama’s administration, former President Carter believes a clear statement of principles could have a lasting effect. 

“Although Israelis and Palestinians are not likely to reach a peace agreement any time soon, such a declaration of U.S. policy, even near the end of a president’s term, could have a powerful and beneficial effect in Europe and elsewhere over prospects for a comprehensive peace agreement. It would at least help to keep options open.”

Read the entire editorial here.

​As part of The Elders and The Carter Center, President Jimmy Carter continues to use his voice and influence to inspire a better world. His lifetime achievements are remarkable. A Facebook page called Honoring Jimmy Carter has been created to help pay tribute to this great world leader, peacemaker, and humanitarian. You can visit Honoring Jimmy Carter on Facebook HERE.

The world remains in love with this man as he marches on.


This article by Leslie Salzillo was originally published on Daily Kos.

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