Jimmy Carter on Israel/Palestine (Larry King Live - CNN)
12-02-2006, 02:41 AM
Jimmy Carter on Israel/Palestine (Larry King Live - CNN)
Jimmy Carter Interview
CNN Larry King Live
KING: Now let's move to your book, "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid," published by Simon and Schuster. This must be book number 600.
CARTER: It's book number 21.
KING: Twenty-one. It just seems so frequent.
CARTER: I know.
KING: Anyway, Alan Dershowitz writing about this book Mr. Dershowitz has written strong books defending Israel, blasts this book and he says your use of the loaded word "apartheid" suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa is especially outrageous. What's the analogy? Why use the word apartheid?
CARTER: Well, he has to go to the first word in the title, which is "Palestine," not Israel. He should go to the second word in the title, which is "peace." And then the last two words is "not apartheid." I never have alleged in the book or otherwise that Israel, as a nation, was guilty of apartheid.
But there is a clear distinction between the policies within the nation of Israel and within the occupied territories that Israel controls and the oppression of the Palestinians by Israeli forces in the occupied territories is horrendous. And it's not something that has been acknowledged or even discussed in this country. The basic purpose of... KING: Why not?
CARTER: I don't know why not. You never hear anything about what is happening to the Palestinians by the Israelis. As a matter of fact, it's one of the worst cases of oppression that I know of now in the world. The Palestinians' land has been taken away from them. They now have an encapsulating or an imprisonment wall being built around what's left of the little tiny part of the holy land that is in the West Bank.
In the Gaza, from which Israel is now withdrawing, Gaza is surrounded by a high wall. There's only two openings in it, one into Israel which is mostly closed, the other one into Egypt. The people there are encapsulated.
And, the deprivation of basic human rights among the Palestinians is really horrendous and this is a fact that's known throughout the world. It's debated heavily and constantly in Israel. Every time I'm there the debates is going on. It is not debated at all in this country.
And, I believe that the purpose of this book, as I know, is to bring permanent peace to Israel living within its recognized borders, modified with good faith negotiations between the Palestinians for land swaps. That's the only avenue that will bring Israel peace.
KING: But, again, referring to Dershowitz, he says: "Palestinian terrorism is missing from Carter's entire historical account," true?
CARTER: No, it's not. He obviously hasn't read the book. I point out very horrible instances of Palestinian terrorism. But I also point out that in the last -- since August of 2004 that Hamas has not been guilty of an act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life. And, the terrible acts of violence on both sides are a very great concern of mine.
For instance, since the second intifada started, there have been about 4,000 Israelis -- Palestinians killed, about 1,000 Israelis killed. Seven hundred Palestinian children have died. About 120 Israeli children have died. These are all horrible acts and this constant killing of each other needs to be stopped.
Since Israel went into Gaza 400 Palestinians have died, three Israeli soldiers have been killed. Four other Israelis have been killed by rockets. All of those deaths are tragic but there has been violence on both sides.
And what we need now is a recognition that Israel will comply with international law with the resolutions passed by the United Nations, approved by the United States and Israel requiring Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.
To comply with Israel's with me and President Sadat at Camp David when Menachem Begin, the prime minister of Israel agreed, "We will withdraw our military and political forces from the West Bank. We'll give them full autonomy. We'll comply with U.N. resolution 242," which requires Israel to withdraw from occupied territories. That has now been violated.
KING: Let me hold you right there.
KING: And we'll pick right up.
KING: We'll have e-mails and include some phone calls. "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid," Jimmy Carter the author, we'll be right back.
KING: Concerning your book, Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker of the House said: "It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously."
CARTER: Well, I didn't refer to Israel, to repeat myself, and I made it plain in my book that the apartheid as now being practiced in the West Bank is based not on racism or ethnic divisions. It's based on (INAUDIBLE) for Palestinian land by a minority of Israelis and this has been the problem for a long time.
And, I don't think there's any way that Israel will ever have what all of us want, what I've worked for, for 30 years, and that is peace until Israel is willing to withdraw from the occupied territories and let the Palestinians have their own land side-by-side, as is specified, by the way, in the international quartet's roadmap for peace, which calls for Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.
KING: Mr. President, didn't President Clinton have that all worked out and wasn't it Arafat that backed off?
CARTER: No. As a matter of fact, Clinton -- President Clinton did a great job the last term, the last part of his term in trying to bring peace to Israel. He made some very interesting proposals, none of which were accepted either by the Israelis or the Palestinians.
I describe that in my book and what President Clinton proposed was not acceptable to either Israel of the Palestinians but was the best effort he could make in the time that he had left in his term.
KING: We have an e-mail from Julie in Palo Alto. "The United States and Israel seem to be the ones you love to hate worldwide. Why do you think that is so and why are they always linked together?"
CARTER: Well, I think the United States and Israel have been linked together ever since long before I was president and they were certainly linked together when I was president. I was the one that negotiated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. Egypt had been the attacker of Israel four times in the previous 25 years before I became president and we concluded a peace treaty between Israel and our most formidable opponent in 1979 in April, not a word of which has ever been violated. So, I've devoted a good portion of my adult life trying to bring peace to Israel, which I admire very much.
And I think what's happening in the West Bank and in the occupied territories is completely contrary to the basic principles of the Israeli religion and completely contrary to the basic principles of Israel as a nation when it was founded.
It's a crime what is being done to the Palestinians by the occupying forces and that's what I tried to describe in the book. And everything in the book, I might say, is completely accurate.
KING: Richard Cohen in "The Washington Post" wrote the following. I want your reaction. "The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It's an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslim (and Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are now seeing. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself."
CARTER: I don't agree with that, if you're asking me if I do agree.
CARTER: I think it was a notable and heroic thing for the international community with practical unanimity, except for the Arab countries, to ordain the right of Israel to be a nation and I think that one of the greatest steps that Harry Truman made was to recognize Israel immediately.
And then when Israel was attacked and went through a series of wars in 1967, the delineation of Israel was established. Seventy- seven percent of the holy land was given to Israel. Only 22 percent went into the West Bank. And the agreement was that Israel would not invade and occupy and colonize the property owned by the Palestinians.
Israel violated that international law and the international quartet's roadmap and other agreements. And, as soon as Israel quits violating that and withdraws to its legal borders, then Israel will have I think a fruitful and peaceful life in harmony with its neighbors.
KING: Are you optimistic about that?
CARTER: It depends. You know in the last six years, contrary to every other thing we've known since Israel was founded, there has not been a single day of good faith negotiation between Israel and her neighbors, despite the fact that the Palestinians have produced with full approval for Israel and the United States the person that they wanted to represent the Palestinians, that is Mahmoud Abbas who is known as Abu Mazen.
When Arafat was still president, Abu Mazen was made the prime minister, at the choice of U.S. and Israel, so he could negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. Later when Arafat died, Abu Mazen became the president of the Palestinians and still he has not been permitted to negotiate a single day in good faith in a substantive way with Israeli leaders.
That's something that's missing is any effort on the part of the international community, particularly the United States, to bring these two sides together for good faith talks, as all previous presidents, including President Clinton, have tried to do.
KING: The book is "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid." Coming up, former President Carter's take on the midterm elections; a little later his predictions for 2008. Your phone calls on the questions of this book as well and some more on the book too. It's just ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Do you think it will continue to be as pro-Israel as this past Congress?
CARTER: I would guess so, Larry. It's almost inconceivable for any members of the House and Senate to take any position that would be critical of Israel.
That's one reason I wrote my book, is just to precipitate some controversy, to use your word, or provocation, that is to provoke debate on the issue and to let the people of America know that there are two sides to many issues in the Middle East, and that in order ever to have peace for Israel, Israel will have to comply with international law. But I don't think it's likely at all that Democrats will be any more critical for the policies of Israel than were the Republicans.
KING: Back to Mr. Dirshowitz (ph) on your book. He deals with the tone of your book. He says "it's obvious that Carter doesn't like Israel or Israelis. He lectured Golda Meir on Israel's secular nature, he admits he didn't like Menachem Begin. He has little good to say about any Israelis except those few who agree with him. He apparently got along swimmingly with secular Syrian mass murderer Hafiz al-Assad. He and his wife Rosalynn had a fine time fine with equally secular Yasser Arafat, a man with the blood of hundreds of Americans and Israelis on his hands."
How would you respond?
CARTER: That's ridiculous. You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote Professor Dirshowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him.
I had very good friends in Israel. I said in the book that my number one friend in Israel was Eva Weissman (ph), who negotiated with me at Camp David. Moshe Dian (ph) was also there with me. I got along well with Prime Minister Begin. In fact, he was the one that made it possible for me to have the greatest success politically of my life, and that is to bring peace between Israel and Egypt. And obviously I was friendly with Sadat, as well. So, I still have great friends in Israel. And for him to say that I hate Israel, I hate Israelis, I hate Jews and so forth is ridiculous.
KING: Since you negotiated one of the most successful peace treaties in history, the treaty between Israel and Egypt, which has never been broken, right?
CARTER: That's correct. Not a single word has ever been violated since April of 1979.
KING: How did you get this rap of anti-Israel then?
CARTER: You mean from Dirshowitz?
KING: No, let's put Dirshowitz aside.
CARTER: You'd have a hard time finding others that think that. You know, when I write a book of this kind, with admittedly a provocative title -- and I use the word provocative not in a negative sense, but just to provoke debate and to provoke discussion.
And now we're in an absolute doldrums concerning peace in the Middle East. As I said couple of times on your program already, for six years we've not had one day -- one effort to negotiate peace. I think it's time to get become on the peace track. And I think this book will provoke some discussions and will educate a lot of people about what's going on in the West Bank now. And it has the clearest possible avenue proscribed in this book for peace in Israel and harmony with its next door neighbors.
KING: Why has that been impossible up to now?
CARTER: The debate?
KING: No, not to have a debate.
KING: President Clinton said that situation is the hardest he's ever had to deal with, harder than Britain and Ireland.
CARTER: Well, it probably is. But, you know, there have been two clear successes. One was when I negotiated between Begin and Sadat and they both agreed to exactly the same document. They both submitted that document with their signature on it to their own parliaments. And their own governments approved it, in Israel with a vote of 85 percent in the Knesset.
And then later the Norwegians negotiated an agreement between Rabin -- Peres on one side and Arafat on the other, for which all three of them got the Nobel Peace Prize. And they proscribed it -- the withdrawal from the occupied territory.
So, there have been previous agreements worked out based on U.N. Resolution 242 and the others, with which the Israeli leaders and their government agreed. So it's not a hopeless case. And I hope that we'll make another effort. In both those cases, there were strong interlocutors or mediators, I in one case and the Norwegians in the other. And that's what we need now.
I think if the United States won't take that role on, then maybe the entire group of the so-called International Quartet, the United States, Russia, the United Nations, and the United -- and the European Union -- those four have written a road map which President Bush has endorsed enthusiastically. And if they can implement their terms -- by the way, on which the Palestinians have accepted 100 percent and the Israelis have rejected almost entirely -- if the road map terms are accepted, then we can have peace in the Middle East.
KING: Our guest is President Carter. His book is "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," not only a guaranteed best-seller, but certainly one of the most talked about books late in the year 2006.
Just ahead, the former president's take on the rising political star of Barack Obama. Don't go away.
12-12-2006, 07:49 PM
The Gun & The Olive Branch is a really good book to read about the history of the Israel Palestinian Conflict. From the first Jewish immigration in the 1870s to the last full out war with Lebanon in the early 1980's. Alot of people dont really know how and under what circumstances Israel was established.
Its really important to understand the history in order to understand how to move forward. Most people think that Zionists were just given a mandate to take over Palestine by and means necessary by the European Powers or the UN which isnt true.
Personally, I dont believe Israel has the right to exist. Will Israel always exist in one form or another, Probably. I feel that the Palestinians deserve justice and that first needs to come by stopping construction of the wall. It should be torn down just like the Berlin Wall.
12-12-2006, 10:51 PM
so you see the elimination of "Israel" as we know it? and the incorporation of current Israeli citizens into the larger "Palestine" -- guaranteeing full civil/human rights to all citizens of this one-state -- as the ideal scenario?
the wall ain't coming down until the world community is educated about the situation beyond the abc version often portrayed. and until the world community gets behind a vision for what it sees as the most fair and just scenario. similar to south africa, the world is going to have to get behind a vision. that vision will probably be communicated by those who are in the conflict itself, but change doesn't come until the rest of the world starts to sympathize with a vision that it sees as "correct"
right now the world is so divided: half sympathizes with the maintenance of a state of Israel and that states right to protect itself and half sympathizes with the Arab Palestinians and their right to have freedom in their homeland.
where's the articulation of a balanced realistic and idealistic vision? i ain't seein it from no one really.
12-13-2006, 04:54 PM
brian Wrote:so you see the elimination of "Israel" as we know it? and the incorporation of current Israeli citizens into the larger "Palestine" -- guaranteeing full civil/human rights to all citizens of this one-state -- as the ideal scenario?
No I definitely dont see the elimination of Israel as a realistic, fair, or a positive solution, let alone a possibility. When I said that I dont believe Israel has the right to exist, what I am saying is that the principal (Zionism) that is used to justify the establishment of Israel is what I dont agree with. I dont believe in the pricipals of Zionism that supposedly gave Zionists the right to establish Israel as the expense of the Palestinians. I have Jewish friends that dont belive that Israel has a right to exist. I dont think that at this point the Israelis should be kicked out or forced out, I also dont think that the Palestinians should have ever been forced off of their land.
I dont agree with the assertion the world is split 50/50 on the issue. In my opinion the majority of the world sympathizes with the Palestinian struggle. The majority of Europe in pretty anti-Israeli policy. We know the Middle East is anti-Israel. The majority of people in the developing world are very suspicious of American policy, and the fact that we unwaveringly support Israel in every policy decision doesnt say much for their cause. And also people that are familiar with struggle against an unjust government identify with the Palestinian cause.
We all know that American media is super biased toward Israel, but its not like that in the rest of the world. I think the rest of the world is alot more informed about Israels human rights violations than people in the US.
Israel first needs to withdraw out of Palestinian territory and honor the borders that were established after the 1967 war.
I think the UN backed 2-state solution is a good start on the road to peace. Israel will always be there but the Palestinians need to have their own independent nation on their original land. They are going to have to find a way to live side by side at the end of the day. If Palestinians were able to recover some of the land I think tensions from the Palestinian side would be greatly reduced. I think most Palestinians realize that they will never recover all of their land, but they need to be able to live in peace and not be hindered from having a productive, safe and economically stable society. The maps that I've seen of the UN resolution gives the Palestinians (I'm estimating from looking at the map) about 30-40% of the land that they originially lost. I actually saw the map in Jimmy Carters book. It also designates Jerusalem as an international area. Jerusalem is the biggest point of conflict for Isreal, they are not willing to give it up or share it with the Palestinians or the International community. Jerusalem is a holy city for 3 religions (Jews, Muslims, and Christians). It shouldnt be under the control of one religious entity.
Israel also has to stop building settlements in Palestinian territory. Collective punishment is not acceptable, along with bulldozing Palestinian homes and keeping the Palestinians under house arrest for days at a time has to stop.
I think the Palestinians have a right to live in their homeland in peace.
I think the vision to move forward has been placed on the table by the international community. The difficult part is that the Israeli government historically has not been willing to compromise. I'm not saying the Palestinians are innocent but if you look at the Oslo accords and all other resolutions its always the Palestinians that are meeting Israels demands and giving up many of their own. Unfortunately Israel has gotten away with so many human rights violations and violations of UN resolutions because the American government supports everything they do
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