Former prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland (left), former President Jimmy Carter and former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, October 22, 2012. (Photo: Allison Deger)
Speaking in Jerusalem today President Jimmy Carter said Israel has turned a corner in its foreign policy and “abandoned” a two-state solution for a “Greater Israel.”
“The two-state solution has basically been abandoned and we are now moving towards a Greater Israel, or Eretz Israel taking over all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River,” said President Carter.
Concluding a two-day tour of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories alongside former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and former prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, President Carter singled out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who has refused to meet with the former American president on his previous trips to Israel) and lamented the lack of “political will” from Israeli officials. I asked the President if it was Israel’s long-standing apartheid-style policies, a two-tier system that has existed since 1948, rather then the leanings of the current leadership that has prevented the possibility of an independent Palestinian state. President Carter affirmed his position that every previous Prime Minister in earnest sought a negotiated solution:
I think for the first time in my memory of the mid-east peace process we have reached a crisis stage because of all of the previous prime ministers of Israel have been detectably and provenly committed to a two state solution, working with other nations in the world including the United States and European countries and the Arab countries as you know. That is our policy…and it seems to be abandoned.
“It was clear that hope has faded of a general two-state solution, so we need to change the dynamic,” continued President Robinson whose voice carried a sincerity for her concern of the conditions Palestinians live under. In particular she referenced Israel’s “national parks” in East Jerusalem which have expropriated Palestinian private property under the delusive heading of conservation. President Robinson said “I think what is really worrying, and I’ve been thinking about this, is the lack of accountability to what is happening in East Jerusalem, to what is happening since 1970, to what is happening with the so-called facts on the ground. There is no accountability.”
The global leaders are expected to travel to Cairo tomorrow to meet with Egyptian officials in the next phase of their Elders tour, an organization founded by Nelson Mandela comprised of some of the world’s most influential former heads of state. Since the group’s founding in 2009, Israel’s unchecked expansion into the West Bank and human rights in the region—including gender issues and abuses committed by the Palestinian authorities—has been a chief priority. President Carter in particular is an outspoken critic of Israel’s path toward what he calls an “inevitable apartheid,” if Israel does not change its current path.
“The only result of a one state-move, which I call a catastrophe, will be an inevitable move towards apartheid, or a willingness by the Israelis, by the Jewish citizens of Israel to relinquish political control to perhaps an Arab majority. Those are the only two options. And my prayer is that this will not happen,” said President Carter.