Posts Tagged ‘President Jimmy Carter’

Jimmy Carter: Gaza must be rebuilt now

December 19, 2009
We can wait no longer to restart the peace process. The human suffering demands urgent relief

Jimmy Carter, The Guardian/UK, Dec 19, 2009

It is  generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within Palestine continues, and PLO leaders refuse to join in renewed peace talks without a settlement freeze, knowing that no Arab or Islamic nation will accept any comprehensive agreement while Israel retains control of East Jerusalem.

US objections have impeded Egyptian efforts to resolve differences between Hamas and Fatah that could lead to 2010 elections. With this stalemate, PLO leaders have decided that President Mahmoud Abbas will continue in power until elections can be held – a decision condemned by many Palestinians.

Even though Syria and Israel under the Olmert government had almost reached an agreement with Turkey’s help, the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejects Turkey as a mediator on the Golan Heights. No apparent alternative is in the offing.

The UN general assembly approved a report issued by its human rights council that called on Israel and the Palestinians to investigate charges of war crimes during the recent Gaza war, but positive responses seem unlikely.

In summary: UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, previous agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, the Arab peace initiative, and official policies of the US and other nations are all being ignored. In the meantime, the demolition of Arab houses, expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Palestinian recalcitrance threaten any real prospect for peace.

Of more immediate concern, those under siege in Gaza face another winter of intense personal suffering. I visited Gaza after the devastating January war and observed homeless people huddling in makeshift tents, under plastic sheets, or in caves dug into the debris of their former homes. Despite offers by Palestinian leaders and international agencies to guarantee no use of imported materials for even defensive military purposes, cement, lumber, and panes of glass are not being permitted to pass entry points into Gaza. The US and other nations have accepted this abhorrent situation without forceful corrective action.

I have discussed ways to assist the citizens of Gaza with a number of Arab and European leaders and their common response is that the Israeli blockade makes any assistance impossible. Donors point out that they have provided enormous aid funds to build schools, hospitals and factories, only to see them destroyed in a few hours by precision bombs and missiles. Without international guarantees, why risk similar losses in the future?

It is time to face the fact that, for the past 30 years, no one nation has been able or willing to break the impasse and induce the disputing parties to comply with international law. We cannot wait any longer. Israel has long argued that it cannot negotiate with terrorists, yet has had an entire year without terrorism and still could not negotiate. President Obama has promised active involvement of the US government, but no formal peace talks have begun and no comprehensive framework for peace has been proposed. Individually and collectively, the world powers must act.

One recent glimmer of life has been the 8 December decision of EU foreign ministers to restate the long-standing basic requirements for peace commonly accepted within the international community, including that Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries will prevail unless modified by a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians. A week later the new EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, reiterated this statement in even stronger terms and called for the international Quartet to be “reinvigorated”. This is a promising prospect.

President Obama was right to insist on a two-state solution and a complete settlement freeze as the basis for negotiations. Since Israel has rejected the freeze and the Palestinians won’t negotiate without it, a logical step is for all Quartet members (the US, EU, Russia and UN) to support the Obama proposal by declaring any further expansion of settlements illegal and refusing to veto UN security council decisions to condemn such settlements. This might restrain Israel and also bring Palestinians to the negotiating table.

At the same time, the Quartet should join with Turkey and invite Syria and Israel to negotiate a solution to the Golan Heights dispute.

Without ascribing blame to any of the disputing parties, the Quartet also should begin rebuilding Gaza by organising relief efforts under the supervision of an active special envoy, overseeing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and mediating an opening of the crossings. The cries of homeless and freezing people demand immediate relief.

This is a time for bold action, and the season for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

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Jimmy Carter: Goldstone and Gaza

November 7, 2009
By JIMMY CARTER, The New York Times, November 5, 2009

Judge Richard Goldstone and the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict have issued a report about Gaza that is strongly critical of both Israel and Hamas for their violations of human rights. On Wednesday, a special meeting of the U.N. General Assembly began a debate on whether to refer the report to the Security Council.

In January 2009 rudimentary rockets had been launched from Gaza toward nearby Jewish communities, and Israel had wreaked havoc with bombs, missiles, and ground invading forces. Judge Goldstone’s claim is that they are both guilty of “crimes against humanity.” Predictably, both the accused parties have denounced the report as biased and inaccurate.

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Obama, US media ignore Palestinian suffering

October 12, 2009

John S. Hancock, Concord Monitor, Oct 12, 2009

The United Nations reports that the lives of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, over half of whom are children, remain seriously threatened by severe shortages of essential supplies of food, drinkable water and medicine because of Israel’s devastating blockade. President Jimmy Carter who recently visited Gaza said that the Israelis are perpetrating a “terrible human rights crime” in Gaza.

Israel, despite the nearly total cessation of Qassam rocketfire, sadistically refuses to even ease its illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza. The Obama administration has, inexcusably, taken no action over the past eight months toward alleviating the plight of Gaza’s people. In fact, President Obama is effectively protecting suspected Israeli war criminals by preventing the United Nation’s Goldstone Report from being referred to the World Criminal Court.

The Goldstone Report and other investigations exposed extensive Israeli war crimes committed against a defenseless civilian population in Gaza during Israel’s invasion last December and January. Obama’s promise made before the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23 that “the murder of innocent men, women and children will never be tolerated” apparently doesn’t apply when Palestinians are murdered by Israeli soldiers.

The American media’s abysmal coverage of what’s occurred in Gaza and on the West Bank under Israel’s unjust occupation is indicative of both anti-Arab racism and a complete lack of journalistic integrity. The Monitor’s own silence regarding these crucial issues and events of worldwide importance is mystifying. Whatever happened to its professed concern with “saving the children of war in Gaza?”

President Carter: Many Children Were Tortured Under Bush

July 18, 2009

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Ralph Lopez, Uruknet.info, July 17, 2009

“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable.” – President Obama, Ghana, July 14, 2009

While congress says it is gearing up to investigate what is old news, that CIA and Special Ops forces are killing Al Qaeda leaders, a decision of far different gravity is being contemplated by Attorney General Eric Holder.  The new insistence of Congress on its oversight role, conspicuously absent throughout 8 years of Bush, is suddenly rearing its head in the form of questioning a policy which has been in place with no controversy for years.  The U.S. has been hunting and killing Al Qaeda leaders outside of official war zones since 2004, when the New York Times reported that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had signed an order authorizing Special Forces to kill Al Qaeda where they found them.

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Gaza: Bombs, Missiles, Tanks And Bulldozers

June 20, 2009

Transcript of former US President Jimmy Carter’s Address to the United Nations Relief Works Agency’s Human Rights Graduation in Gaza, June 16, 2009.

By Jimmy Carter | Information Clearing House, June 16, 2009

Director of UNRWA operations John Ging, thank you for inviting me to Gaza. Distinguished guests, children of Gaza, I am grateful for your warm reception.

I first visited Gaza 36 years ago and returned during the 1980s and later for the very successful Palestinian elections. Although under occupation, this community was relatively peaceful and prosperous. Now, the aftermath of bombs, missiles, tanks, bulldozers and the continuing economic siege have brought death, destruction, pain, and suffering to the people here. Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are being treated more like animals than human beings.

Last week, a group of Israelis and Americans tried to cross into Gaza through Erez, bringing toys and children’s playground equipment – slides, swings, kites, and magic castles for your children. They were stopped at the gate and prevented from coming. I understand even paper and crayons are treated as “security hazards” and not permitted to enter Gaza. I sought an explanation for this policy in Israel, but did not receive a satisfactory answer – because there is none.

The responsibility for this terrible human rights crime lies in Jerusalem, Cairo, Washington, and throughout the international community. This abuse must cease; the crimes must be investigated; the walls must be brought down, and the basic right of freedom must come to you.

Almost one-half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are children, whose lives are being shaped by poverty, hunger, violence, and despair. More than 50,000 families had their homes destroyed or damaged in January, and parents are in mourning for the 313 innocent children who were killed.

The situation in Gaza is grim, but all hope is not lost. Amidst adversity, you continue to possess both dignity and determination to work towards a brighter tomorrow. That is why educating children is so important.

I have come to Gaza to help the world know what important work you are doing. UNRWA is here to ensure that the 200,000 children in its schools can develop their talent, express their dynamism, and help create the path to a better future.

The human rights curriculum is teaching children about their rights and also about their responsibilities. UNRWA is teaching about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the struggle for these rights all over the world, Gaza’s children are learning that as you seek justice for yourselves, you must be sure that your behavior provides justice for others.

They are learning that it is wrong to fire rockets that may kill Israeli children. They are learning that arbitrary detention and the summary execution of political opponents is not acceptable. They are learning that the rule of law must be honored here in Gaza.

I would like to congratulate both UNRWA and the children who have completed the human rights curriculum with distinction. They are tomorrow’s leaders.

In addition to the tragedy of occupation, the lack of unity among Palestinians is causing a deteriorating atmosphere here in Gaza, in Ramallah, and throughout the West Bank.

Palestinians want more than just to survive. They hope to lead the Arab world, to be a bridge between modern political life and traditions that date back to the Biblical era. The nation you will create must be pluralistic and democratic – the new Palestine that your intellectuals have dreamt about. Palestine must combine the best of the East and the West. The Palestinian state, like the land, must be blessed for all people. Jerusalem must be shared with everyone who loves it – Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

With our new leaders in Washington, my country will move into the forefront of this birth of a new Palestine. We were all reminded of this renewed hope and commitment by President Obama’s recent speech in Cairo.

President Obama’s resolve to resume the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process based on the principle of two states for two peoples must be welcomed. This vision of two sovereign nations living as neighbors is not a mere convenient phrase. It is the basis for a lasting peace for this entire region, including Syria and Lebanon.

We all know that a necessary step is the ending of the siege of Gaza – the starving of 1 ½ million people of the necessities of life. Never before in history has a large community been savaged by bombs and missiles and then deprived of the means to repair itself. The issue of who controls Gaza is not an obstacle. As the World Bank has pointed out, funds can be channeled through a number of independent mechanisms and effective implementing agencies.

Although funds are available, not a sack of cement nor a piece of lumber has been permitted to enter the closed gates from Israel and Egypt. I have seen with my own eyes that progress is negligible.

My country and our friends in Europe must do all that is necessary to persuade Israel and Egypt to allow basic materials into Gaza. At the same time, there must be no more rockets and mortar shells falling on Israeli citizens.

I met this week with the parents of Corporal Gilad Shalit, and have with me a letter that I hope can be delivered to their son. I have also met with many Palestinians who plead for the freedom of their 11,700 loved ones imprisoned by the Israelis, including 400 women and children. Many of them have been imprisoned for many years, held without trial, with no access to their families or to legal counsel. Rational negotiations and a comprehensive peace can end this suffering on both sides.

I know it is difficult now, surrounded by terrible destruction, to see a future of independence and dignity in a Palestinian state, but this goal can and must be achieved. I know too that it is hard for you to accept Israel and live in peace with those who have caused your suffering. However, Palestinian statehood cannot come at the expense of Israel’s security, just as Israel’s security can not come at the expense of Palestinian statehood.

In his speech in Cairo, President Obama said that Hamas has support among Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a full role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, accept existing peace agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

I have urged Hamas leaders to accept these conditions, and they have made statements and taken actions that suggest they are ready to join the peace process and move toward the creation of an independent and just Palestinian state.

Khaled Mashaal has assured me that Hamas will accept a final status agreement negotiated by the Palestinian Authority and Israel if the Palestinian people approve it in a referendum. Hamas has offered a reciprocal ceasefire with Israel throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Unfortunately, neither the Israeli leaders nor Hamas accept the terms of the Oslo Agreement of 1993, but the Arab Peace Initiative is being considered now by all sides.

I have personally witnessed free and fair elections in Palestine when Yasir Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were elected president and when legislative members were chosen for your parliament. I hope to return next January for a similar event that will unite all Palestinians as you seek a proud and peaceful future.

Ladies and gentlemen, children of Gaza, thank you for inviting me and for sharing this happy occasion with me. Congratulations for your achievements.

Carter decries destruction in Gaza

June 17, 2009

CNN – June 16, 2009

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on a visit to Gaza that he had to “hold back tears” when he saw the destruction caused by the deadly campaign Israel waged against Gaza militants in January.

Former President Jimmy Carter visits an American school in Gaza destroyed by Israeli bombings.

Former President Jimmy Carter visits an American school in Gaza destroyed by Israeli bombings.

Carter was wrapping up a visit to the region during which he met representatives of all sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Among the sites he visited was the American school that was destroyed by the bombings Israel initiated in response to rocket attacks launched from Gaza into southern Israel.

“It is very distressing to me. I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been raked against your people.

“I come to the American school which was educating your children, supported by my own country. I see it’s been deliberately destroyed by bombs from F16s made in my country and delivered to the Israelis. I feel partially responsible for this — as must all Americans and all Israelis,” Carter said at a news conference.

“The only way to avoid this tragedy happening again is to have genuine peace,” he added, pointing out that many Palestinians are now fighting each other in the West Bank and Gaza because of their affiliations with Hamas or Fatah.

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“It’s very important that Palestinians agree with each other, to cooperate and stop attacking each other and to build a common approach to an election that I hope to witness and observe next January the 25th.”

After the briefing, Carter headed to a graduation ceremony for students who completed a human rights curriculum provided by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

“The human rights curriculum is teaching children about their rights and also about their responsibilities,” Carter said in his speech to graduates.

In his speech to graduates, Carter said bombings, tanks and a continuing economic siege have brought death, destruction, pain and suffering to Gaza. “Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings.”

“The responsibility for this terrible human rights crime lies in Jerusalem, Cairo, Washington, and throughout the international community,” Carter said.

At a news conference later in Tel Aviv, reporters asked the former president about media reports early Tuesday that said Hamas had thwarted a possible assassination plot against him.

The Israeli daily Maariv, quoting a Palestinian source, said explosives had been placed on a road Carter was due to travel on. Citing the source, the newspaper said it was a plot by an al Qaeda-affiliated group based in Gaza.

“I don’t believe it’s true,” Carter said. “I don’t know anything about it.

“None of our people were aware of being rerouted. I asked our driver and I asked the others in charge of making the arrangements, (and) they didn’t know anything about it.”

Carter said some of his staff asked Gaza’s minister of interior, who is in charge of security, and he also was unfamiliar with the report.

Also in Gaza, Carter met with Hamas leaders, who he said “want peace and they want to have reconciliation not only with their Fatah brothers but also, eventually, with the Israelis to live side by side.

Former US President Carter: Gazans “are literally starving”Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

June 15, 2009
Ma’an News Agency, Date: 14 / 06 / 2009
تصغير الخط
Carter [Ma’anImages]

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Former US President Jimmy Carter on Sunday condemned Israel’s “maltreatment of the people in Gaza, who are literally starving and have no hope at this time.”

“According to the UN 41,000 of their homes are either severely damaged or destroyed. And for five months they haven’t gotten a single sack of cement, or single sheet of plaster. They’re being treated like savages,” Carter said in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Asked what he was hoping to hear in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech later on Sunday evening, Carter said a commitment to “[t]he alleviation of their plight to some means I think would be the most important the Israeli PM could do.”

Carter was honored with the annual Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity on Saturday in Ramallah, where he said, “I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years.” “I have two great-grandsons that are rapidly learning about the people here and the anguish and suffering and deprivation of human rights that you have experienced ever since 1948.”

The former American leader also vowed to fight, “as long as I live, to win your freedom, your independence, your sovereignty and a good life.”

He also called on the Palestinian government to reject the ongoing internal rivalry and embrace a unity government with Hamas, whose exiled leadership he met with on Thursday in Syria, where he said that a peace agreement with Israel would have to include the group.

“I don’t believe there is any possibility to have peace between Palestinians and Israel unless Hamas is involved directly, with Fatah,” Carter said after meeting Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad in Damascus, according to AFP.

The former president said he hoped Hamas would commit to the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normalized relations in exchange for a withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders.

Carter also said he expected current President Barack Obama would engage with Hamas if it forms a unity government with the rival Fatah movement under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, according to DPA.

Same old, same old on Israeli settlements

June 14, 2009

Joel Brinkley | San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, June 14, 2009

It’s a familiar story: An exceeding popular president with a strong electoral mandate decides soon after taking office that, to advance Middle East peace efforts, he must push Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

“The most significant action Israel could take to demonstrate good faith,” the president says, “would be a settlement freeze.”

As soon as he voices the idea, Israel’s prime minister publicly refuses. Within weeks, reporters discover that settlers are putting up even more new West Bank homes, in defiance of the president’s request. The White House expresses irritation, and the matter passes.

The episode just described took place in 1983, early in the Reagan administration. But look at the early years of almost any administration over the past 30 years, and you’ll discover a similar effort and similar disappointing results. President Jimmy Carter was an outspoken critic of settlements. Shortly after leaving office, he declared: “Settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.” At that time, 23,000 Israeli Jews lived in West Bank settlements.

Now it’s President Obama’s turn. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” Obama told an appreciative audience in Cairo this month. “The construction violates previous agreements.”

Well, Mr. President, I wish you luck. You’ll need it.

Why can’t the president of the United States, who authorizes an annual gift to Israel of at least $3 billion, persuade any Israeli government left, right or centrist to stop building settlements? The settlements violate international law, and Israel has agreed, more than once, to freeze settlement growth. The European Union, the United Nations and many other individual states have all inveighed against settlements. No other nation anywhere in the world endorses Israel’s settlement policy. In fact, the majority of Israelis disapprove of continued settlement expansion. And so it has always been.

After Reagan left office, President George H.W. Bush made settlement expansion his signature issue with Israel. At that time, tens of thousands of Soviet Jews were emigrating to Israel, and Jerusalem asked Washington for a $10 billion housing loan.

Bush said repeatedly that Israel would not get the money until it froze settlements. But the prime minister then, Yitzhak Shamir, didn’t even seem troubled.

“Settlement in every part of the country continues and will continue,” Shamir said with his characteristic nonchalant shrug. “They try to link the two things, but no one said aid will end. I don’t think it will happen.”

And he was right. Bush finally relented, late in the 1992 election campaign, when the president feared he could lose the election because he had so angered American Jews and their political allies. And, of course, he did lose.

Shortly after President Bill Clinton took office, in 1993, he cut the loan guarantee by almost 25 percent because Israel was once again refusing to stop new settlement construction. By then, 10 years after Reagan’s effort, 112,000 Israeli Jews lived in the West Bank. After the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, Israel more or less stopped building new settlements but aggressively expanded existing ones.

President George W. Bush, chastened by his father’s loss to Clinton in 1992, chose not to make much of the settlement issue. The White House called the settlements “unhelpful,” and its “road map” for peace called for a settlement freeze. But when Bush took office 177,000 Israeli Jews lived in the West Bank. When he left, the number approached 300,000.

This month, Obama said “part of being a good friend is being honest” with Israel. Well, I would argue that Carter was honest. So were Reagan, Bush and Clinton. On the settlement issue, it did no good.

A week or so ago, TV news recorded Israeli security officers tearing down an illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank. That tape got a lot of air play. No one was there with a camera that same evening, NPR reported, when settlers came back and put up even more buildings.

Perhaps Obama will be able to do what none of his predecessors has. Maybe he can persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlements and to make peace with the Palestinians. Maybe, though I doubt it. The political costs of following through are too high, and the Israelis know that.

Obama does at least seem to be aware of the risks. Asked this month what the president might do if Israel ignored his request, a White House official pointedly noted that holding back loan guarantees “is not under discussion.”

Joel Brinkley is a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign policy correspondent for the New York Times. To comment to him, e-mail brinkley@foreign-matters.com. Contact us at forum@sfchronicle.com.

Jimmy Carter: An Unnecessary War

January 10, 2009

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.

We knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza were being starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found that acute malnutrition in Gaza was on the same scale as in the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Palestinian families eating only one meal a day.

Palestinian leaders from Gaza were noncommittal on all issues, claiming that rockets were the only way to respond to their imprisonment and to dramatize their humanitarian plight. The top Hamas leaders in Damascus, however, agreed to consider a cease-fire in Gaza only, provided Israel would not attack Gaza and would permit normal humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Palestinian citizens.

After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government.

Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the cease-fire proposal. After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel’s unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. It was clear that the preeminent issue was opening the crossings into Gaza. Representatives from the Carter Center visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli officials and asked if this was possible in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire. The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.

After 12 days of “combat,” the Israeli Defense Forces reported that more than 1,000 targets were shelled or bombed. During that time, Israel rejected international efforts to obtain a cease-fire, with full support from Washington. Seventeen mosques, the American International School, many private homes and much of the basic infrastructure of the small but heavily populated area have been destroyed. This includes the systems that provide water, electricity and sanitation. Heavy civilian casualties are being reported by courageous medical volunteers from many nations, as the fortunate ones operate on the wounded by light from diesel-powered generators.

The hope is that when further hostilities are no longer productive, Israel, Hamas and the United States will accept another cease-fire, at which time the rockets will again stop and an adequate level of humanitarian supplies will be permitted to the surviving Palestinians, with the publicized agreement monitored by the international community. The next possible step: a permanent and comprehensive peace.

The writer was president from 1977 to 1981. He founded the Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization advancing peace and health worldwide, in 1982.

French FM warns Israel plans Iran strike

October 6, 2008
Global Research, October 5, 2008
Press TV
Kouchner evokes the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says Israel would strike Iran, under the pretext that the country is seeking nuclear bombs.

Israel has long alleged that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential ‘threat’ to Tel Aviv, accusing Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of seeking weapons of mass destruction.

The UN nuclear watchdog said in its latest report on Iran that it could not find any ‘components of a nuclear weapon’ or ‘related nuclear physics studies’ in the country.

In a Haaretz interview published on Sunday, Kouchner said a nuclear weapon would not ‘give any immunity to Iran’.

“Israel has always said it will not wait for the bomb to be ready,” he added.

The outspoken French minister, who is on a two-day visit to the Middle East, said Tel Aviv would ‘eat’ Iran before the ‘bomb’ is ready.

He later released a statement saying that he had been misquoted by the paper and that he had used the word ‘hit’ not ‘eat’.

Kouchner, however, confirmed that he did ‘indeed evoke the possibility of Israeli strikes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon’.

Kouchner’s remarks are in line with French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning in early September that the pursuance of a nuclear program by Iran could lead to an Israel-waged war on the country.

“We could find one morning that Israel has struck (Iran),” the French president said, adding that no one would question the legitimacy of such an act of aggression.

Iran says its nuclear activities are directed at the civilian application of the technology, such as generating electricity for its growing population.

During his late September visit to New York, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that ‘the era of nuclear bombs has ended’, stressing that weapons of mass destruction have no place on Iran’s defensive doctrine.

Israel, meanwhile, is widely believed to have acquired some 200-300 nuclear warheads. Former US president Jimmy Carter confirmed in late May that Israel is the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

Iran, the Arab League and the one-hundred-eighteen Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members, sought to put the dossier of ‘Israel’s nuclear capabilities’ on the agenda of the annual UN nuclear watchdog meeting in Vienna.

In a vote on Saturday, Israel – backed by the US and EU – managed to evade a link between its nuclear program to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.


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