Jimmy Carter's proposal sounds more like blackmail than a peace-deal.
By AVIGDOR LIEBERMANMinister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman keeps up his JPost blog.
Last Thursday, Jimmy Carter published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "A New Chance for Peace?" in an attempt to deflect criticism from his new book. One of the claims Carter makes is that Israel should adopt the 2002 offer of the Arab Summit Conference - full recognition of Israel based on a return to its internationally recognized borders - as a foundation for peace.
Carter insists that this is compatible with previous agreements approved by Israeli governments, when in fact Israel has never accepted this offer, and should never allow non-recognition of Israel to be held over our heads as a bargaining chip.
Israel tried the land-for-peace formula in 1993 with the Oslo Accords, but instead of peace we were answered with a violent intifada. We then tried the land-for-truce formula in Lebanon in 2000 and in Gaza in 2005, but instead of truce both territories have turned into the prime launching grounds for rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, cross-border incursions to kidnap Israeli soldiers and terror bases.
Now Jimmy Carter would like us to try land-for-recognition? Historically the two topics are not connected: Non-recognition of Israel by Arab states didn't start in 1967 and the so-called "occupation." The Arabs states have refused to recognize the State of Israel's right to exist from its very inception. Jimmy Carter's proposal sounds more like blackmail than a peace-deal. There should be no price tag attached to recognition of one's right to exist.
Carter remains consistent in his message by advocating that US foreign policy, by proxy, should afford Iran and Syria the opportunity to participate and potentially play leading roles in regional politics. Iran is already the main state-sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East (Hizbullah, Hamas, the anti-American insurgency in Iraq), and around the world (the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires against the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center).
More importantly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called time and time again for the destruction of the State of Israel, for wiping Israel off the map and for a world without Zionism. He is pushing forward, despite UN sanctions, with his nuclear weapons program - an existential threat to Israel, and a strategic threat to the entire free world.
To even suggest that Iran should be allowed to carry on as usual in the international arena, not to mention proposing that the US and the free world should encourage Iran to deepen its involvement, is outrageous.
In 1978, President Carter invited Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to Camp David to negotiate an Israeli-Egyptian peace deal. Such a summit was thought unimaginable just a year earlier, but President Sadat's historical visit to Jerusalem and address to the Knesset plenum the previous winter made it possible. Jimmy Carter's experience should have taught him that recognition of Israel's right to exist is a prerequisite to negotiations, not their goal.
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