The Palestinian unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah offers Israel an opportunity to move the peace process forward since any future agreement would incorporate all of the West Bank and Gaza, former president Jimmy Carter argues in an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post on Tuesday.
“This reconciliation of Palestinian factions and formation of a national unity government is necessary because it would be impossible to implement any peace agreement between Israel and just one portion of the Palestinians,” writes the former president, who helped broker the historic Israel-Egypt peace treaty over 30 years ago.
Talks between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government broke down last month after disputes arose over Jewish settlement activity, the planned release of the last batch of convicted Palestinian terrorists who have been incarcerated in Israeli jails, and Ramallah’s application to 15 international treatises and conventions.
Despite the pessimism surrounding the prospects for renewed negotiations, Carter believes that if Hamas were to recognize Israel’s right to exist “within its pre-1967 borders as modified by mutual agreement,” the new unity government would gain acceptance in the international community.
Carter also wrote that the Palestinian move to join the 15 treaties “can also be beneficial” since they bind Hamas to abide by international norms in areas like the laws of war, granting equal rights to women, and protecting the rights of children.
The former president wrote that the treaties which the Palestinians joined pose no danger to Israel, whose only major concern would be if Ramallah formally applied to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, where legal challenges could be waged against Israeli policies.
“A united Palestinian government with wider international recognition, newly elected leaders and assured financial support from the Arab world may provide an opportunity for a new round of peace talks, permitting Israel finally to live in peace with its neighbors,” Carter wrote. “The international community should take advantage of these opportunities.”