Israel must stop building settlements in the West Bank if peace is ever to be achieved in the Middle East, former US president Jimmy Carter said Monday night as he received an award at a Virginia university for his humanitarian efforts.
"As [US] President Barack Obama has made clear, the key factor that prevents peace is the continuing building of Israeli settlements in Palestine, driven by a determined minority of Israelis who desire to occupy and colonize east Jerusalem and the West Bank," Carter said.
Carter said he is convinced that withdrawal of IDF forces from Arab territories will dramatically reduce any threats to Israel.
"All 22 Arab countries have offered diplomatic recognition and full trade and commerce if Israel will withdraw from occupied territories," he said.
And withdrawal is necessary, Carter said.