So, Jimmy Carter’s shilling for Hamas again (“No Gaza, No Peace: A lasting settlement in the Holy Land is still possible. But Israel must end the siege on Gaza first,” Foreign Policy, May 14, 2015). And this time with former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, another of his grandiosely self-named “Elders” group. Brundtland joins other “Elders,” like Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, with whom Carter periodically pens Middle East revisionism.
The two “Elders” claim Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has a lot to do to convince domestic and foreign audiences that he has a credible desire and vision for peace.” Actually, the guidelines of the new Israeli cabinet that Carter dismisses, presented before his latest Op-Ed, emphasized both the Jewish people’s “undisputable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel” and intent to “strive to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and all our neighbors.”
Carter and Brundtland insist “the situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after the end of last summer’s war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt. People cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Despite Hamas’ oft-demonstrated disinterest, Carter and Brundtland flog a Palestinian national unity government. They also pretend Abbas wants to hold long-overdue elections he and his Fatah movement would likely lose. Amid 20 long paragraphs largely devoid of cause-and-effect, the pair claims “a complete paradigm shift is essential. This demands the lifting of the siege and an end to Israel’s policy of separating the West Bank and Gaza ….”
When Carter promoted a Hamas-Fatah “technocratic” unity government in a 2011 Washington Post Op-Ed, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) responded that the one-term former president was “naïve, at best. … In fact, it already seems clear that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the most successful and competent technocrat in the Palestinian government, will be removed by this deal.” Though that bid for Palestinian unity also failed, Fayyad is long gone, sacrificed to Hamas’ rejectionism and Fatah’s indifference.
A paradigm shift is needed, all right. It would begin with Carter and his co-authors no longer blaming Israel for the absence of a two-state solution including a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem “Palestine.” Instead, they would ask themselves why Palestinian leadership rejected such a deal when proposed by the United States and Israel in 2000 (and launched the second intifada instead), the United States and Israel again in 2001, Israel alone in 2008 and the United States with Secretary of State John Kerry’s “framework” in 2014.
Until then, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, USA Today, and other current or past willing platforms, could elevate public discussion of Arab-Israeli issues by sparing us any more such wisdom from our “Elders.”