Jimmy Carter, we can have peace (without you) in the Holy Land

The former president's meddling is just not cutting it.

carter hand 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
carter hand 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Former President Jimmy Carter has just released a new book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan that Will Work in which he advocates a straightforward solution: Israel should embrace the Quartet [Russia, the UN, the EU and the US]. The plan is backed by a group known simply as The Elders, an NGO started by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to promote peace and assist in conflict resolution and funded partly by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who originally proposed the idea for the group, and musician Peter Gabriel. Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center are heavily involved with this endeavor; Carter is one of three appointed 'Elders' to the Middle East. The delegation currently in Israel accompanying Carter includes South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former Irish president Mary Robinson (who recenty received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama despite strong objections by Jewish groups over her leadership role in the 2001 UN Durban Review). The group's objectives were met with skepticism by Israelis, but according to Carter, were eagerly embraced by the "Palestinians, peace groups and human rights activists in the region." How could he ask the Jewish people to embrace a group known as The Elders? The controversial Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is the biggest best-selling book in a bigoted world, and is charged with fueling anti-Semitism. CARTER'S PLAN is to allow the Quartet to solve the Middle East conflict, plain and simple. He calls for peace-loving organizations such as Hizbullah and Hamas and states like Iran and Syria to be involved in the negotiating process in order to bring peace to the Holy Land. The Quartet, Hizbullah, Hamas, Syria, Iran - according to Carter, everybody but Israel can bring peace. For Israelis only, Carter reserves the word 'radicals' in his book. He also calls former prime minister Menachem Begin by the same abjective and then describes him as the "most notorious terrorist in the region." Of course, he said the British said that, not him. Carter goes on to describe Binyamin Netanyahu as a "key political associate and naysayer" who was strongly opposed to Israel relinquishing control over the Sinai. It appears that Jimmy Carter is revising history. The Binyamin Netanyahu I know was attending college during the Camp David meetings in the late 1970s. In fact, when I recommended him to Begin for a government job, the prime minister did not even know who Netanyahu was. I have no idea how Carter was so aware of Binyamin Netanyahu's political ideology; he was selling furniture at the time to help fund his schooling. The former president also writes that at the time, Begin agreed to divide Jerusalem. I found that to be astonishing, especially since Begin had given me a copy of the letter he penned to Jimmy Carter on September 17, 1978, in which he wrote, "Dear Mr. President, on the basis of this law, the government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel." According to Begin, Carter informed him that the US government did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Begin told me he responded, "Excuse me sir, but the State of Israel does not recognize your non-recognition." Carter further charges that Begin agreed to a freeze on building Jewish settlements but Begin told me he had not agreed to a total freeze; he only agreed not to build new settlements for three months, during the negotiations. Carter also gives the impression that he and Begin were close friends by saying that Begin and then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited him in Plains to reaffirm the personal commitments each had made to the other, which I found quite humorous. Begin told me he had refused to meet with Carter when the president traveled to Jerusalem. At that time, he was no longer prime minister but was outraged that Carter had misrepresented the events during their meetings. COULD IT be that Jimmy Carter's ideals are formulated by the number of zeros before the decimal on the contributions to the Carter Center by oil-rich Gulf States? These same states do not now, nor will they ever, allow Jews to worship freely within their borders no matter how much land Israel relinquishes. It is then surprising and hypocritical to call Israel an "apartheid state" and to infer that the region's only democratic country is an obstacle to peace - thus the only solution to the Middle East conflict is through intervention. Carter's final plea is for President Barack Obama to "shape a comprehensive peace effort between Israel and the Palestinians...then use persuasion and enticements to reach these reasonable goals with the full backing of other members of the International Quartet and the Arab nations." It is likely he would call on The Elders for their expertise. The best thing President Obama could do is completely ignore Jimmy Carter and his plan. The writer is a New York Times bestselling author of Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos. A television special based on the book is currently being produced (www.carterbooktv.com)