The following statement by President Jimmy Carter represents a comprehensive review of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process since the former President helped negotiate the Camp David Accord between Egypt and Israel in 1978. Carter tells it like it is. The former president isn't dependent on the political contributions or support from the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee and offers a respectable counter to the tidal wave of pro-Israel propaganda in the mainstream US media.
As a contrasting example of the power of political money, following the Carter statement we present a copy of a press release from the website of Congressman Henry Waxman(D-CA). The Congressman's joint release, uniting with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) (one of the most right wing members of the US Congress) came just two days after Pres. Carter's essay appeared.******************
by Jimmy Carter
At Camp David on Sept. 17, 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin accepted almost precisely the peace proposal that is now being broached by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
After 13 days of intense negotiations between the two Middle East leaders and their top advisers, it became obvious that the only "agreed basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and its neighbors is United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, in all its parts."
This resolution's key element is "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war . . . which should include the application of both the following principles:
1) "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent (1967) conflict."
2) "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." The two leaders at Camp David carefully considered every word in this key resolution and agreed to the following explanatory language dealing with the inhabitants of the occupied territories:
"In order to provide full autonomy to the inhabitants, under these arrangements the Israeli military government and its civilian administration will be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas to replace the existing military government. To negotiate the details of a transitional arrangement, the government of Jordan will be invited to join the negotiations on the basis of this framework. These new arrangements should give due consideration both to the principle of self-government by the inhabitants of these territories and to the legitimate security concerns of the parties involved."
With full approval of the government of Israel, there was a free and fair election in the territories in January 1996, monitored by The Carter Center. Eighty-eight members of the Palestinian National Council were chosen, with Yasser Arafat as its president.
While at Camp David in 1978, we did not attempt to negotiate other key provisions of the final status of the West Bank and Gaza involving the possibility of an independent Palestinian state, the return of refugees and special provisions for the security of Israel, but we did provide for procedures to be followed in making these decisions in the future.
After concluding this agreement concerning the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, we turned our attention to the existing occupation of Egyptian territory in the Sinai by Israeli forces. The most difficult issue in this mediation was the dismantling of a large settlement at Yamit of about 3,000 Israelis. Prime Minister Begin was not willing to commit to issuing this order personally, but did agree to let the Israeli parliament make the final decision. This provision and all other terms of the accords were approved by an overwhelming margin in the Knesset.
Six months later, a permanent peace treaty was negotiated between Israel and Egypt, which has subsequently been honored in all of its aspects by both nations.
If peace is to be achieved, there is no viable alternative to the premises prescribed in U.N. Resolution 242 of November 1967, the Camp David accords of September 1978 and the current proposal of Crown Prince Abdullah.
Despite the best efforts of President Bill Clinton, the final proposals put forward by Prime Minister Ehud Barak to the Palestinians in 2000 did not meet these basic terms.
The withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories in exchange for full recognition and a guarantee of peace will, I believe, be acceptable to the Palestinians, other Arabs, a majority of Israelis and the international community. The only other choice is sustained and probably increasing violence in the Holy Land.
Former president Jimmy Carter chairs The Carter Center, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that advances peace and health throughout the world.
*************Rep Henry Waxman's statement
March 14. 2002
Zahavah Goldman -
Washington, DC - Representatives Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) today sent a letter, signed by 230 Members of Congress, commending President Bush for his firm stance against Palestinian terrorism and urging him to add the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, the Tanzim, and Force 17 to the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
"President Bush has done a tremendous job making clear that the United States will not tolerate Palestinian support for terrorist groups that target innocent civilians and threaten U.S. efforts to restore stability," Representative Waxman said, "but it's time to take our policy a step further."
Representative Ros-Lehtinen added, "There is nothing to distinguish the tactics and suicide bombings of these groups from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or other organizations already recognized by the United States as terrorist groups."
The letter cites a number of gruesome terrorist attacks and militant operations for which these groups have taken credit or been implicated. It also notes the affiliation between these groups and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which is led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat. News reports indicate that since December more than 50 Israelis have been murdered and more than 350 have been wounded in terrorist attacks attributed to the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade alone.
Representative Ros-Lehtinen said, "It has come to a point where practically all of the attacks are committed by groups with a connection to Arafat."
"Vice President Cheney and General Zinni arrive in Israel this week with a critical opportunity to make clear to Arafat that he must isolate and eliminate the terrorist factions," Representative Waxman added. "Placing these groups on the U.S. terrorist list would force Arafat to make that decisive choice."
The U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organization is maintained by the Department of State and groups can be added at any time. Palestinian terrorist groups already on the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations include Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Palestine Liberation Front, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The recent unprincipled capitulation of the US political establishment and the mainstream press to the lobbying and public relations campaigning of pro-Israeli American Jews is an historic disgrace and will remain forever a stain on the US reputation, along with our attempted genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of African-Americans, etc., etc.. The US support for the colonization by Israel of the Occuppied Territories will someday be recognized as underwriting terrorism and a crime against humanity.