Jimmy Carter has written a book called the Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. I first heard about it on CNN on one of its news shows – where he was invited to talk about it.
It is a very complicated topic to opine about – so many sides, so many nuanced issues and facts, so much emotion, so many people impacted. And I have not even read the book.
Will update the forum after I have read the book; Instead, what I wanted to write about here was just the enormity of the fact that the book was written and published in the first place. If there is a holy grail in the world of American public policy debate – it is never to have a real, candid conversation around Israel and its role in the Middle East. To honestly and without prejudice talk about the impacts of the very pro-Israel American policy on the Palestinian people, the resulting brazen-ness of Israeli policy with its neighbours and most importantly, the impacts on long term American strategic interests because of such a markedly one-sided foreign policy.
To have an ex-president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner to come out and write a book like this, in itself, is a momentous event.
From what I understand from his talking points on CNN, Carter actually compares Israeli policy to Apartheid – though he states that the discrimination that he says is perpetrated by Israel is less motivated by racial prerogatives and more by strategic prerogatives of occupying lands belonging to the Palestinian nation. Also, he uses the term Apartheid not in context with Israel’s treatment of Arabs who live in Israel and are full citizens of that country but instead in context with the Palestinian people who are forced to live in refugee camps in the Gaza strip, in Lebanon and in any of many refugee camps scattered throughout the area.
Hopefully, the book will atleast start the spawning of meaningful debate around the true nature of the middle eastern problems, how the United States can start to play a meaningful role there and an understanding of the inestimable damage the unconditional pro-Israeli policy has caused the standing of the United States all over the Middle East.
A lot of opinions have already started showing up on the Internet – both pro and anti the ideas that book is proposing. Without reading the book, it is impossible for me to comment on the accuracy of the facts stated there, but the pro-Israeli camp has cast a lot of doubts on the facts used in the book. But then, one’s point of view always colour hard facts. So again, from a purely objective stance, it would be difficult to comment.
But it would seem to me, Jimmy Carter is in a rather unique position to write about the Palestine-Israel issue given his background and work during his presidency.
To end it, I am heartened the book is out. Coming from Jimmy Carter lends it a certain amount of legitimacy in the American consciousness – and I think, in the world of strife and divisiveness we live in, the most powerful country in the world needs to make a honest effort in understanding one of the most vital international issues of our times – because the reverberations of this conflict go far and beyond the Middle East.
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