Nobel Peanut Prize winner Jimmy Carter, in an interview this week with NPR's Bob Edwards, blames the failure of the Middle East peace process entirely on Israel and says that the United States should not be Israel's ally. Here are his exact words [portions of the quotes in italics were only in the extended version posted on the website, not in the broadcast]:
EDWARDS: The focus this week is on a single individual. Is Yasser Arafat the main obstacle to peace as the US and Israeli governments describe him?This news article is pretty typical of the news coming out of Ramallah these days:
CARTER: No, I don't think so. [As a matter of fact, the Carter Center was instrumental in conducting the election where Arafat was chosen president when Palestinian governing authority was done]. In the last few years as you know, Arafat has been almost completely isolated in one small building and hasn't been really in charge of things on the ground. [But there's no doubt one of the provisions was to have a prime minister appointed. Now that's been done and another has been put forward] But I think it's just kind of an excuse to blame everything on Arafat who has practically no authority even among his own people.
Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has asked Yasser Arafat and his Fatah political party to select most of his new cabinet in a move that would leave Arafat firmly in control of the government.Not bad for a guy who has practically no authority even among his own people!
EDWARDS: What would happen if Israel carried out its threat to expel him from the West Bank?A lot of other things are specifically prohibited in the "road map" -- such as terrorism. But Peanut Boy, who wants to be invited back to bless the next Palestinian "election", doesn't seem to mind the terrorism.
CARTER: Well, this is specifically prohibited in the `road map' that there would be any expelling of people from the West Bank and Gaza. I'm sure that when that sentence was put in the `road map' by President Bush and others that they weren't thinking about Arafat. So this would be another very blatant violation of the principles of the `road map.'
EDWARDS: What's your assessment of Ariel Sharon?Not only does Carter imply that Sharon is not now a man of peace, but Sharon is the only figure on either side of the conflict that Carter singles out for criticism. The only issue in the conflict that Carter mentions in the entire interview is the so called "colonizing" of the disputed territories. No mention of terrorism or the Palestinians' refusal to give up their claim on all of Israel through the "right of return".
Mr. CARTER: [tells a positive anecdote about Sharon during Camp David] So, in those days, Sharon was in favor of peace. I think the main issue is whether or not Israel insists upon the colonizing of the West Bank in Gaza or whether they will withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza as is required by United Nations resolutions and as is required also under the so-called `road map' for peace.
EDWARDS: Last week, candidate Howard Dean said that there should be more even-handed American policy in the Middle East. Senator Lieberman and others went after Dean saying he was threatening to undermine long-standing US relations with Israel. What do you make of that?So Carter believes that Israel is morally equivalent to, and no more of a US ally than, say, Syria or Hamas and that the United States shouldn't take sides.
CARTER: Howard Dean was absolutely right. You know, the word even-handed may not have been a good choice but the United States has to take a balanced position between Israel and the Palestinian or other adversaries of Israel, that you can't just have the United States and Israel forming a coalition as though they were in opposition to the other side.
Also in the interview Carter demonstrates his Pollyanna-ish ignorance of Palestinian history:
I think the Palestinians would go back to non-violence which they did 25 years ago and subsequently even with the Oslo agreements.These charts (here and here) illustrate that the Palestinians continued the violence both 25 years ago and also with the Oslo agreements. Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at September 20, 2003 07:00 AM