Answering Jimmy Carter on Israel

Issue article www.Christianview.org

by Philip Rosenthal

28 August 2002

DOUBLE STANDARDS ON RACISM ................................................................................................................................1 WHAT CRITERIA FOR A REASONABLE PEACE SETTLEMENT? ..........................................................................................1 SHOULD AMERICA PRESSURE ISRAEL TO COMPROMISE LAND?......................................................................................2 THE 'PALESTINIAN' STATE ..........................................................................................................................................2 "AMERICA CAN PERSUADE ISRAEL TO MAKE A JUST PEACE" BY JIMMY CARTER ............................................................3

Ex-United States president Jimmy Carter has called for America to put more pressure on Israel to give land and full independent statehood to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for promises of peace. At the same time Carter criticises Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat for not doing enough to stop terrorism. Carters article, from the web site www.sojo.net is copied after this article. I respond to Carter's views below. Firstly, Carter asserts that post-1967 Israel is 'Arab lands'. From a Biblical perspective, this is incorrect. Almost every promise to Abraham for the land was given to him while walking within this area. Secondly, Carter refers to the 'destruction of Jenin' by Israel. This is inaccurate. Only 10% of a 'refugee camp' in Jenin was demolished by Israel using ground troops to remove well-armed terrorists who had been attacking Israel. Israel could much more easily have destroyed the terrorists by bombing (as did the US in Afghanistan), but rather risked their own soldiers lives to fight on the ground rather than kill innocent Palestinian civilians in the camp. Less than 60 people died. Thirdly, Carter correctly criticises Arafat for not doing enough to stop terrorism. Carters peace & democracy efforts are commendable, but chances of success in trying to democratise Muslim Arabs are slight - considering the track record of most other Muslim states - where the governments seldom tolerate much opposition. Double standards on racism Carter criticises Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon for visiting the temple mount. This is a double standard. Why should Sharon as a Jew should not be allowed to visit the Jewish temple mount or buy a house in the predominantly Arab East Jerusalem (which he also did). Isn't this exactly what the fight over apartheid was all about: the right to live where you want to, and go where you want. Why now the double standard? Surely Carter should then logically also support racial segregation in South Africa? Why is it okay in Israel and not here? Chris Hani made a statement by buying a house in Boksburg - but do we condemn him for doing so? Do we condemn Alan Hendrikse for going for a swim at a 'whites only' beach? Shouldn't Ariel Sharon then be allowed to visit any place in Israel he wants to - especially the site of his own historic Jewish temple? Why was Alan Hendrikse 'courageous' and Ariel Sharon 'provocative'? Carter, and a lot of others are being hypocritical on this issue - one standard for South Africa and the opposite for Israel. Surely he should rather condemn the Muslims for being intolerant of Sharon's visit to the temple site and buying of a house in East Jerusalem. What criteria for a reasonable peace settlement? We could support some form of political power for the Arabs in the post-1967 borders, which does not:

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* prevent Jews buying land and living there; * allow accumulation of arms threatening Israel; * remove Israeli sovereignty of the land; * act as a base for acts of terror against Israeli Jews and prevent pursuit by Israeli police. There is more than one possible solution, which could accommodate these issues, but it is unlikely that Arafat is going to accept this. Indications are he wants full control of all of Israel - as do most of the other radicals - and perceives a smaller state as a stepping-stone to this ultimate goal. Arab radicals are not giving much space to moderates. Should America pressure Israel to compromise land? With respect to Carter's suggestion America use economic and diplomatic leverage to pressure Israel to compromise with Arafat. This is rather like Neville Chamberlain's declaration of "Peace in our time" after pressurising of Czechoslovakia to hand over the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in 1939 because of its German majority. Similarities are as follows: * Both justified by ethnic majority in a part of the other country (Germans in Czechoslovakia; Arabs in Israel) * Militarily suicidal for both Israel and Czechoslovakia in that it removes natural defensive borders of both countries and reduces strategic depth to a thin strip. * To the detriment of world interest of combating an international menace (Nazi aggression vs terrorist base). * Exchanging land for a promise of peace from a habitual liar (Adolph Hitler and Yassir Arafat). * Perception by lobbying countries that international peace would result from selfishly motivated pressure. With regard to Carters' portrayal of Sharon as a warlike leader, we must remember until the collapse of the European peace efforts in 1939, Neville Chamberlain was the hero and Winston Churchill was continually ignored an maligned as a cynic and militarist. He arrived just in time - a weaker leader would have agreed to Germany's peace offer. With hindsight, Churchill is the hero and Chamberlain the idealistic fool. Right now Israel needs a strong leader to hold the country together. The 'Palestinian' State Contrary to Carters article, independent statehood was never promised to the Palestinian Authority by the Israelis. Carter's reporting on Sharon's willingness to compromise with Arafat on a Palestinian state is also inaccurate. Sharon is in fact opposed by his own Likud party in Israel for being willing to allow such a state. Regardless of the views of Sharon and his party, for many reasons, this state is unlikely to happen and if it did, probably wouldn't survive very long. • The Palestinian Authority has been a disastrous failure politically with little government respect for the law or even its own elected representatives; • It would likely become a base for terrorism against Israel, which would then provoke further conflict; • Would create new political problems such as what to do with Jewish towns within its borders and how to cope with thousands of Arabs wishing to return; • May well 'melt down' with internal conflict between factions like Lebanon until another power steps in to enforce peace.

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It is not an economically viable state and would depend on foreign donations and major portion of its wages earned in Israel. This would create more tension - as with South Africa's migrant labour and homeland system; A closure or restriction of borders with Israel for security purposes would greatly impoverish its people; Most importantly, it would obstruct the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy to return the Jewish people to the Biblical land of Israel.

Philip Rosenthal "America can persuade Israel to make a just peace" by Jimmy Carter (from the web site www.sojo.net) In January 1996, with full support from Israel and responding to the invitation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Carter Center helped to monitor a democratic election in the West Bank and Gaza, which was well organized, open, and fair. In that election, 88 members were elected to the Palestinian National Authority, with Yasir Arafat as president. Legally and practically, the Palestinian people were encouraged to form their own government, with the expectation that they would soon have full sovereignty as a state. When the election was over, I made a strong effort to persuade the leaders of Hamas to accept the election results, with Mr. Arafat as their leader. I relayed a message offering them full participation in the process of developing a permanent constitutional framework for the new political entity, but they refused to accept this proposal. Despite this rejection, it was a time of peace and hope, and there was no threat of violence or even peaceful demonstrations. The legal status of the Palestinian people has not changed since then, but their plight has grown desperate. Ariel Sharon is a strong and forceful man and has never equivocated in his public declarations nor deviated from his ultimate purpose. His rejection of all peace agreements that included Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands, his invasion of Lebanon, his provocative visit to the Temple Mount, the destruction of villages and homes, the arrests of thousands of Palestinians, and his open defiance of President George W. Bush's demand that he comply with international law have all been orchestrated to accomplish his ultimate goals: to establish Israeli settlements as widely as possible throughout occupied territories and to deny Palestinians a cohesive political existence. There is adequate blame on the other side. Even when he was free and enjoying the full trappings of political power, Yasir Arafat never exerted control over Hamas and other radical Palestinians who reject the concept of a peaceful Israeli existence and adopt any means to accomplish their goal. Mr. Arafat's all-too-rare denunciations of violence have been spasmodic, often expressed only in English and likely insincere. He may well see the suicide attacks as one of the few ways to retaliate against his tormentors, to dramatize the suffering of his people, or as a means for him, vicariously, to be a martyr.... [But] with the ready and potentially unanimous backing of the international community, the United States government can bring about a solution to the existing imbroglio. Demands on both sides should be so patently fair and balanced that at least a majority of citizens in the affected area will respond with approval, and an international force can monitor compliance with agreed peace terms, as was approved for the Sinai region in 1979 following Israel's withdrawal from Egyptian territory.
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There are two existing factors that offer success to United States persuasion. One is the legal requirement that American weapons are to be used by Israel only for defensive purposes, a premise certainly being violated in the recent destruction of Jenin and other villages. Richard Nixon imposed this requirement to stop Ariel Sharon and Israel's military advance into Egypt in the 1973 war, and I used the same demand to deter Israeli attacks on Lebanon in 1979. (A full invasion was launched by Ariel Sharon after I left office). The other persuasive factor is approximately $10 million daily in American aid to Israel. President George Bush Sr. threatened this assistance in 1992 to prevent the building of Israeli settlements between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I understand the extreme political sensitivity in America of using persuasion on the Israelis, but it is important to remember that none of the actions toward peace would involve an encroachment on the sovereign territory of Israel. They all involve lands of the Egyptians, Lebanese, and Palestinians, as recognized by international law. The existing situation is tragic and likely to get worse. Normal diplomatic efforts have failed. It is time for the United States, as the sole recognized intermediary, to consider more forceful action for peace. The rest of the world will welcome this leadership. *Jimmy Carter, former U.S. president, is chairman of the Carter Center, which works worldwide to advance peace and human health. Please do copy and distribute this article. Comments and questions welcome.
by Philip Rosenthal Contact Christianview.org at (021) 6854500 or mail@christianview.org Postnet 114, P/Bag X18, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa Please send us a copy of any article quoting from this and acknowledge <www.Christianview.org>. More articles and pamphlets on issues can be found at www.Christianview.org

Answering Jimmy Carter on Israel (Aug 2002).doc

27 August, 2002

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