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Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid

Peter Miller, February 7, 2007

President Jimmy Carter has done a great service to this country in blowing open the taboo against talking about Israel's Apartheid system in the occupied territories. It is sad to see such a humane and earnest and hardworking peacemaker be so maligned by his critics.

How easily supporters of Israel forget that Carter was the American president that successfully forged peace between Egypt and Israel by having Israel return the land it stole from Egypt in 1967. He was the only American president to forge such an important and long lasting peace treaty for Israel. Israel will have to give back the rest of the lands it took in 1967 (from Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians) in exchange for peace with its neighbors. Most reasonable people, including Israelis, will acknowledge this.

Unfortunately, Israel continues to colonize the West Bank and Golan Heights and keeps the residents of Gaza on a starvation diet. The international community considers all of Israel's settlements past the pre-1967 border (the green line) as illegal colonies and serious war crimes, but even under Israel's own internal laws, it was recently revealed, 40% of these exclusive, Jewish-only settlements are built illegally on land stolen from Palestinian civilians. As the chance for a viable Palestinian state slips away because of Israel's walls, fences, Jewish only colonies and Jewish only roads, the chance for Israel to find the security it desires also wanes.

It is understandable why Carter limited his focus and his criticism to Israel's Apartheid colonization of the West Bank. After all, he knew full well the fire storm that would ensue from even that limited, if critical, analysis of Israel's policies. However, his book only covers part of the story. First, there really is a strong racist component that is found amongst the zealous Israel firsters (both Jewish and Christian) which Carter seems to deny or gloss over. Second, the Palestinian citizens of Israel are denied important rights and are treated third class citizens. Their position within Israel is tenuous as they are viewed as potential enemies of the state by Israel's right wing and calls for their ethnic cleansing from Israel are often heard, even by important figures within the government, most recently Avigdor Lieberman, the Deputy-Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.

All in all, President Carter has written a landmark book: buy one and give it to one of your local, State, or Federal representatives: they need to learn the other side of the story.
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