Former President Jimmy Carter’s promotional tour in support of his book We Can Have Peace in the Middle East: A Plan that Will Work (Simon & Schuster, 2009) continued with an appearance on the
Carter offered a misstatement of fact as soon as he and Rose started talking about his book, asserting that the situation has gotten to a crisis stage where
… maybe for the first time in generic terms or broad terms has to decide ‘do I want one nation or two nations?’ And that is a seminal question. If you can’t create a two-state solution, then you wind up with a one-state solution, and that is the way Israel is going now. And a lot of very top leaders in Israel , including Barak and including Olmert and including Ms. Livni all realize that this is a trend that must be reversed. Israel
As Carter reports in his book, Israelis have supported some form of Palestinian autonomy since at least the 1970s. Carter’s own book – the book he was on Charlie Rose’s show to publicize – demonstrates the notion of a Palestinian homeland has been on the mind of the Israeli people for quite some time. On page 19 Carter writes of his 1973 trip to
It had seemed to me during my visit to the region [in 1973] that there was a consensus within
that the basic principles of United Nations resolutions would be honored, including the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories. It was obvious this would leave the Palestinians with some kind of homeland, but it had not been defined. Israel
And on page 30, Carter writes that he prepared for his first meeting with Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1977 by studying public opinion polls in
Sixty-three percent of the Israelis wanted peace with the Arabs, 52 percent thought that that the Palestinians deserved a homeland, and 43 percent said the homeland ought to be on the
West Bankof the Jordan River, while others preferred the East Bank (Jordan). By a 45-45 split, the people of thought they should negotiate directly with the PLO if the PLO would recognize Israel ’s right to exist. Israel
Carter gives very short shrift to the Camp David/Taba negotiations of 2000 and 2001 in his book, but the whole point of Ehud Barak’s offer at
Despite the fact that Israelis were discussing the issue of Palestinian autonomy when he was president, and that Israeli officials made and accepted offers that would have resulted in the creation of a Palestinian state at Camp David and Taba at the beginning of this decade, former President Carter talks as if Israel is addressing the issue of a two-state solution for the first time.
Carter also relayed Hamas’ dishonest complaints about
… the only reason they were lobbing the rockets was to bring international attention to the fact that they were starving to death, that the Israelis were not permitting food and water and fuel and medicine to come into them and that they had to publicize their plight. And they know that nobody was getting killed. In the entire 12 months [before the lull] one Israeli was killed. (Emphasis added.)
In these two sentences, there are numerous falsehoods. First off, while conditions have not been pleasant in the Gaza Strip since Hamas perpetrated its violent takeover of the territory during the summer of 2007, starvation has not been a problem.
“One Israeli Killed”
Also, in the statement quoted above, President Carter repeated yet again, the falsehood that only one Israeli was killed during the 12 months before the cease fire. In fact, ten civilians were killed in
The four killed by rocket fire are:
Hamas also claimed responsibility for a Jan. 15, 2008 sniper attack that killed Carlos Andres Mosquera Chavez, a 21-year-old Ecuadorian volunteering at a Kibbutz in southern Israel; a Feb. 4, 2008 suicide bombing in Dimona that killed 73-year-old Lyubov Razdolskaya; and the April 25, 2008 shooting death of Shimon Mizrahi, 53, and Eli Wasserman, 51, at an industrial park near the West Bank. And Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who infiltrated
Rockets for Food
Carter reports that Hamas did agree to a cease fire on the condition that more food and water be let into the Gaza Strip, but fails to address one important fact – Egypt, which controls Rafah Crossing, has been reluctant to ease restrictions and increase the flow of goods into the Hamas-controlled territory for fear of allowing for more intense connections between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. (
Moreover, Israel has allowed food, medicine and fuel into the Gaza Strip through the crossings it controls (and provides much of the Gaza Strip’s electrical needs through its power plant in Ashkelon), facts that are not made clear in the dialogue below:
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me just understand what you were saying, because it is an important point here with George Mitchell going overseas. That you believe and Hamas told you that if, in fact, there had not been sanctions against them in terms of food and other requirements…JIMMY CARTER: That`s right.CHARLIE ROSE: … to come across the border into
, they would not have started the shelling or they would have stopped the shelling? GazaJIMMY CARTER: That is correct.CHARLIE ROSE:: It was in a sense to get attention because the Israelis were not allowing things … ?JIMMY CARTER: That`s correct. …. Now, ones that told me that were the Hamas leaders from . They are not the ultimate boss. The ultimate bosses are in Gaza . DamascusCHARLIE ROSE: Well, that`s right, and you met with him too. What did he tell you? What does he want? What does he believe is the future for ? PalestineJIMMY CARTER: His preeminent request to me was to get to let food and water come into Israel , and he was willing to stop the rockets if they would do so. Now… GazaCHARLIE ROSE: That just doesn`t — can I just ask a question because I don`t really understand it.JIMMY CARTER: Yes, please, go ahead.CHARLIE ROSE: If the Israelis don`t want the rockets, that seems so, to me, such an obvious thing to do. Don`t stop the food and water from going in there, if — because there will be no rockets.JIMMY CARTER: But you have to talk to the Israelis about that.
Carter and Rose’s conversation here indicates to viewers that
It should be noted that goods flow freely into the
Hamas basically stopped the rockets on the 19th – it took them a few day to stop all the rockets. But they had been firing 250 rockets a month on the average. They cut that down to one rocket … eight rockets, one rocket for a month. And those were mortar fires too. They can’t control it 100 percent, but they can control it more than 99 percent.
When Carter says that Hamas was firing 250 rockets a month on the average, he drastically downplays the number of projectiles launched into
Hamas Will Accept Negotiations
At one point, Carter interrupts Rose’s questioning to say, “Your questions force me to defend Hamas, and I’m not here….” Carter does not even have to finish his sentence before Rose apologetically demurs with “I don’t mean to do that, as you know.”
The fact is, it was not Rose’s questions that forced Carter to defend Hamas. Carter made that decision all by himself when he wrote his book. The whole premise of his text and of his media appearances is that peace is possible despite Hamas’ hostility toward