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Jimmy Carter’s proposal to recognize Palestine is dissed by all the usual suspects

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As you surely heard, former President Jimmy Carter had a big op-ed in the New York Times two days ago urging President Obama to recognize Palestine in what little time he has left in the White House, as a step to maybe save the two-state solution.
United States recognition of a Palestinian state would… clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications…

The combined weight of United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy…

This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people. Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America’s support for a two-state solution.

The next day the State Department said it doesn’t care what Carter says:
John Kirby: Well, obviously, we have great respect for former President Carter and for his tireless efforts to achieve peace while he was in office and certainly in the years following his presidency. He’s a great American. Our view hasn’t changed that we believe that the preferred path for the Palestinians to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations that will lead to a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution…
QUESTION: It’s not expected to happen in the next six weeks, is it?

MR KIRBY: I’m not a fortuneteller.


Here’s Secretary of State John Kerry’s comment on the conflict, indicating that nothing will happen in the next two months:

“[N]o one has expended as much time as I have to try to move the process forward.”

“But the old saying is real: You can lead a horse to water, you can’t make him drink,” he said. “If they’re not prepared to take the risks – everybody knows what has to be done – but if they’re not ready, then there’s no way to force-feed it. There are, however, other things that we can do that may try to save the possibilities of a two-state solution, and we have to think about that.”

The Associated Press reports that Obama will do nothing in the next two months:

President Barack Obama has nearly ruled out any major last-ditch effort to put pressure on Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians, U.S. officials said, indicating Obama will likely avoid one last row with Israel’s government as he leaves office.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Obama for more than a year had considered giving a major speech describing his vision for a future peace deal or, in a more aggressive step, supporting a United Nations resolution laying out parameters for such a deal…

Discussions about those potential maneuvers, under way before the U.S. election, have fallen off since Donald Trump’s surprise victory, officials said. Obama is now highly unlikely to approve either of those options presented to him by U.S. diplomats, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss internal deliberations and requested anonymity.

The Israel lobby group AIPAC also got into the act this week, applauding a bipartisan piece of legislation passed by Congress that opposes any “unilateral” efforts to impose a solution, including Carter’s idea–

“any widespread international recognition of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood outside the context of a peace agreement with Israel…”

And just in time, there is also opposition to Carter’s suggestions from two veteran peace processors, liberal Zionist Aaron David Miller and centrist Zionist Dennis Ross. Miller writes at CNN that Carter’s recommendation will “leave the Obama legacy in tatters,” because Donald Trump will only upend the move — and maybe hurt the Israelis’ feelings, too.

As hard as it may be to accept right now, a unilateral move might make matters worse…
First, any initiative undertaken during the presidential transition in the United States would need to address not just Palestinian needs, but those of Israelis, too. No administration I’ve ever served in took a unilateral, consequential step related to the peace process that didn’t bear this fundamental principle in mind…
Second, US recognition of Palestinian statehood would almost certainly buoy Palestinian hopes — but alienate the Israeli government, while having little appreciable impact on the realization of Palestinian statehood.
And of course Israelis would do whatever they wanted, and we’d have nothing to say about it, that’s how the special relationship works, Miller lobbysplains:
In response to any unilateral declaration, the Israelis — already deeply committed to settlements — would likely respond with steps of their own that go beyond what they are already doing, such as building heavily in east Jerusalem, moving forward on the controversial E-1 project and perhaps even annexing portions of the West Bank.
Dennis Ross in the Washington Post seems to be auditioning for a job in the Trump administration. He calls Secretary of State John Kerry’s pursuit of peace “quixotic” and offers advice to Donald Trump on how to bring about the “ultimate deal.”

Can the Trump administration succeed where others have failed? Trump surprised the world by getting elected; if he is to surprise the world on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, he will need to keep the following guidelines in mind:

Ross offers his usual suggestion, Israel should stop building outside the “settlement blocs.” And the Palestinians have to stop trying to “delegitimize Israel in all international forums.”

He says the key is to involve the Arab states as a “cover” for the Palestinians and to “compensate” the Palestinians. That’s code for ending the refugee crisis.

Test privately, therefore, whether Arab state cover is possible in the negotiations. Ironically, both sides need the Arabs — with the Palestinians needing a cover even to talk, much less concede anything, and the Israelis believing only the Arabs can compensate for concessions they make to the Palestinians.

It’s sure looking like another few years of Washington-and-Netanyahu trying to keep the conflict on perpetual hold.

BTW, the other night at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, Jonathan Kuttab, the Palestinian human rights lawyer, said it’s not about statehood anyway; the two-state solution is over; and having a flag and passports means nothing to Palestinians if they are still occupied and don’t have rights. That’s going to be the real debate, going forward in the one-state reality.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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26 Responses

  1. Citizen on December 1, 2016, 2:26 pm

    Maybe the Palestinians should just declare their own state, just as the Zionist intruders did? What do they have to lose? The UN charter offers support for their self-determination, does it not? Surely, by now, any hope Palestinians have for US help is just a bad joke. But who would speak for them? They once elected HAMAS leaders…

  2. Maghlawatan on December 1, 2016, 3:26 pm

    “As hard as it may be to accept right now, a unilateral move might make matters worse… ”

    If there is any lesson from Jewish history it is that a people cannot be held down by empire.
    But obviously the cognitive dissonance stops Yossi from seeing this regarding the Palestinians. WTF

    Israel can’t change. Won’t change.

    And another 5 years is another 5 years of Israeli society drifting deeper into fascism. Ceteris will not be paribus So Israel will collapse.

  3. WH on December 1, 2016, 3:38 pm

    The two-state delusion…

  4. pabelmont on December 1, 2016, 3:48 pm

    Citizen: The Palestinians HAVE declared a state of their own, but not as Israel did. The difference? Israel had a large and sufficient army and the Palestinians have not. And the other difference: major states “recognized” Israel when it self-erupted into existence (its “declaration of independence” was really a “declaration of self-creation”; independence from whom, exactly ?)

    As to Carter and Obama. Well, I expect the powers that be will lose this opportunity as they’ve lost all others. That’s what unimaginative slaves to oligarchy (or to ideology) do, after all. Read about it here !

    But if President Obama DID recognize Palestine, submit a UNSC resolution favoring full UN membership rfor Palestine and, most important, demanding — with sanctions for coercive force — that Israel remove all settlers within a time certain (and according to a uniform schedule of removal so progress could be measured) in, say, 2 years (or 5 years), THEN such coercion might give Israel that little “umpf” which would get it to negotiate SOMETHING with the PLO, whether a democratic 1SS or some kind of 2SS.

    I agree with the thought that a “state” does not matter but rights within some kind of non-discriminatory system is what’s required.

    After all, both Jews and Muslims and Christians co-existed quite well for 400 years or so under the Ottoman Empire, and none of those religious groups lived within a “state” of its own, and it was OK, typical of the life of those days. Other people lived within other empires such as the Astro-Hungarian empire; it was OK then, and Palestinians could live well inside an Isaeli empire — but only if it were quite different from the present version (same empire, of course, same ruler, same army, but one wants to call for non-discrimination and full democracy).

    • Theo on December 2, 2016, 9:51 am

      Funny you mention the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There the austrians gave the orders, the hungarians had little rights, and the rest had to keep their mouth shut, like the palestinians in Palestina. Like all empires, where one nation conquered others by force, it also fell apart, living many little countries, now mostly under the umbrella of the EU.
      However there is a very great difference, as all nations in that empire lived there for a 1,000 years or longer, in Israel immigrants from dozens of nations, who at the beginning couldn´t even understand eachother, are the colonists, the only one in the 21st century. Israel is a theocracy, where ancient beliefs and the rabbis have the say. A few days ago I watched an israeli film on the problems of a divorce in that country, rabbis are the judges and the ceremony is probably 3,000 years old. Unbelievable in a world of 21st century.

  5. Kay24 on December 1, 2016, 3:52 pm

    It is a sad situation. The US does not care, the EU and Britain do not care, the UN does not care, and most importantly the other Arab nations do not give a damn either. In fact there are certain Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, who have become BFF with those who occupy, steal lands, and make the Palestinians suffer on a daily basis. So what chance do the Palestinians have to have their own state? Meanwhile the illegal squatters increase by the day.

    • Mooser on December 1, 2016, 6:02 pm

      “It is a sad situation.

      I cannot believe that Judaism is willing to face the 21st century with the destruction of the Palestinians and Palestine on it’s record. And no dissent.
      Do they think we will get a medal for it? A Nobel Prize?

      • Kay24 on December 1, 2016, 10:37 pm

        No, they will get all the land, water, and other resources (including olive trees) as much as their greedy hearts desire.

      • Mooser on December 2, 2016, 5:56 pm

        “No, they will get all the land, water, and other resources (including olive trees) as much as their greedy hearts desire.”

        And this 19th Century accomplishment will be our Jewish 21st Century pride. Look what we did, we beat an unarmed indigenous people! This shows we are ready to occupy an elite position in all advanced Western democracies.

      • Maghlawatan on December 2, 2016, 8:11 pm

        It’s a sad sad situation. And it’s getting more and more absurd
        But Yossi never said sorry in his life. And he doesn’t pay for anything.
        He whines. He’s needy. And he has white phosphorous.

        Elton John is approximately the same age as Israel. He has given a lot to the world and he doesn’t suffer from Ziocaine Sadistic Dementia.

  6. Talkback on December 1, 2016, 4:59 pm

    Only Jews are allowed to make unilateral moves and even declare statehood in direct violation of Security Council resolution 46 of 17 April 1948:

    1. Calls upon all persons and organizations in Palestine, and especially upon the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency, to take immediately, without prejudice to their rights, claims, or positions, and as a contribution to the well-being and permanent interests of Palestine, the following measures: […]

    (d) Refrain, pending further consideration of the future Government of Palestine by the General Assembly, from any political activity which might prejudice the rights, claims, or position of either community;”

  7. Citizen on December 1, 2016, 5:47 pm

    After Abbas: Who does Israel want to lead Palestinians?

  8. Qualtrough on December 1, 2016, 10:28 pm

    A nation that rejected Jimmy Carter deserves Donald Trump.

    • Citizen on December 2, 2016, 7:42 am

      Jimmy Carter is much more highly regarded today than when he lost his bid for reelection in 1980. He has produced an exemplary post-presidency, and today there is an increased appreciation for the enormity of the task he took on in 1977. The general public, including grass roots Democrats, has little awareness that he has been blackballed from said party by its leadership for writing Peace, Not Apartheid. (He just wrote a piece in the NYT telling Obama to stick up for the Palestinians before he goes.)

  9. Kathleen on December 2, 2016, 8:44 am

    Carter clearly and sincerely believes in the two state solution, Clearly Israeli leaders, the majority of the population, Aipac, Ross, Miller do not believe, Willing to keep the conflict on “perpetual hold” as Israel confiscates more and more land, air and water.

    As Jonathan Kuttah and so many others have pointed out the two state solution is no longer a possibility, Always a hoax…Carter was duped, That reality is becoming more and more evident to all involved and the public at large

  10. James Canning on December 2, 2016, 12:57 pm

    Jimmy Carter is quite right to urge Obama to recognize Palestine.

    • echinococcus on December 2, 2016, 6:31 pm


      ( the ones who refused to die or emigrate and who have continued to breed in their hundreds of thousands ) who sooner or later will be turning to the US and the rest of the world and saying you patently didn`t pressure the Israelis into giving us a Palestinian State, and now it is simply with the settlements a complete impossibility so we want equal rights and full citizenship in the land between the river and the sea alongside the other residents and not the Apartheid system which Israel will de facto be applying.

      You said a powerful mouthful there. All correct, except “turning to the US” and saying things is worth what? You know who the US of f*ckn A is (and who Europe belongs to) (and who commands in the US)? Saying all you said and more, and a token, will take you all the way to the Bronx, as the idiom ran before electronics. A successful genocide of the Palestinian people won’t make any impression over here. The only thing with even a feeble chance is not turning to the US but turning the US ship, only possible with a huge information movement directed at the general population. *Especially among the unhip “conservative” working class*, much more receptive than trendy middle-class Dims or Pukes. Or a war that hurts us so bad we can’t even stand up. Having grandchildren, I don’t like the second idea.

  11. Ossinev on December 2, 2016, 1:46 pm

    “Willing to keep the conflict on “perpetual hold” as Israel confiscates more and more land, air and water”

    The “perpetual hold” is evolving into something very different.They can confiscate all they like and no doubt driven by the brainwashed settler zombies they will continue to do so. The problem they ( the few remaining rational players in Israeli politics ) have got and are terrified of facing up to is the collapse/implosion of the Vichy Oslo PA and the de facto surrender of the keys to the West Bank back to them. Oh and the “Arab droves” between the river and the sea ( the ones who refused to die or emigrate and who have continued to breed in their hundreds of thousands ) who sooner or later will be turning to the US and the rest of the world and saying you patently didn`t pressure the Israelis into giving us a Palestinian State, and now it is simply with the settlements a complete impossibility so we want equal rights and full citizenship in the land between the river and the sea alongside the other residents and not the Apartheid system which Israel will de facto be applying.
    The International Community has been playing along with the two state negotiations farce despite knowing it to be a lost cause and have allowed Israel unwittingly to dig its own grave. The game is now rapidly moving on to South African Apartheid Mark 2 and the same International Community can`t bluff their way out of confronting this.

    Roll on 1SS.

  12. Parity on December 2, 2016, 4:53 pm

    We should recognize Palestine as a state, but with undefined borders (like Israel) or with the same borders as Mandate Palestine. That would give the Palestinians power in the UN. The two states could meld into one or form a condominium. Even if the area were one integrated state or a binational state, the Palestinians could call the place Palestine and the Israelis could call it Israel. The UN could call it Palestine-Israel or Israel-Palestine.

    • Mooser on December 2, 2016, 5:49 pm

      That should double the land area and water resources of Palestine, too. Wish I had thought of a solution so workable

      We simply replace 700,000 or so Palestinians that Zionism kicked out with about 8.2 million Zionists, and parity is achieved.

  13. iResistDe4iAm on December 2, 2016, 8:20 pm

    Dennis Ross in the Washington Post seems to be auditioning for a job in the Trump administration.

    Donald Trump would not appoint ‘peace process’ failures like Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, or Martin Indyk as his envoy for the Middle East. These former US envoys, better known as ‘Israel’s lawyers’, have totally failed in conflict resolution by enabling more theft and colonisation of Palestinian land. He is more likely to appoint a Special Envoy from a pool of Zionists he is already close to (son-in-law, business associates, politicians). He is also likely to move the US embassy to Jerusalem (as a US concession which he will expect Israel to reciprocate when he launches his peace plan).

    Trump is a self-proclaimed America-Firster, but also sees himself as an Israel-Firster as long as he’s convinced that US and Israeli interests are aligned. His Zionism derives from family, close business associates and ‘hasbara culture’. Unlike other politicians, he is not bought and paid for by Israel-Firster donors (although Sheldon Adelson wrote an op-ed endorsing Trump, it seems most of his donations went to Republican congressional candidates instead of the Trump campaign: ).

    Remember Trump also endorsed Netanyahu during Israel’s 2013 election ( ). I believe he did this with his own election run in mind, to prove his bona fides as a “great friend of Israel”.

    Trump fancies himself as a supreme negotiator and dealmaker, and has a massive ego to match. He would love to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict precisely because it’s become impossible to resolve after so many failed attempts spanning many decades. During a recent interview with New York Times (November 2016), he reiterated the following:

    “I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians. I would love that, that would be such a great achievement. Because nobody’s been able to do it.”
    “A lot of people tell me, really great people tell me, that it’s impossible — you can’t do it. I disagree. I think you can make peace.”

    Like most leaders, Trump is still wedded to the ‘two-state solution’ as the only resolution to the conflict. Because of this, he will not accept any unilateral Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank, and Netanyahu knows this. When Trump launches his peace plan, he will no doubt expect Israel to reciprocate US largesse by making the necessary concessions to facilitate the two-state solution. However, when Netanyahu fails to make the right concessions and tries to derail Trump’s peace plan (as he did with Obama’s plans), then all bets will be off.

    Unlike the obsequious Obama, Trump will not be ‘bending the knee’ to Netanyahu, or anybody else for that matter. When it comes to the crunch, Trump is a Trump-Firster, an America-Seconder and everybody-else-Laster.

    • Mooser on December 3, 2016, 11:50 am

      “Like most leaders, Trump”

      When did Trump get to be a “leader”? This is his first, his entry level political job.
      Oh wait, I’m wrong. He’s led a lot of people by the nose, to the poor-house.
      The hopes people pour into Trumps already-full empty suit are extraordinary.
      And the man is a well-known quantity, too. Get real.

      • Citizen on December 4, 2016, 12:44 am

        Since Trump is a well-known quantity, what will be his approach to make a deal to resolve the I-P conflict?

      • Mooser on December 4, 2016, 5:19 pm

        “Since Trump is a well-known quantity, what will be his approach”

        Exactly! Start by using “Trump’s Razor” on the major propositions, and then apply it to making finer discriminations. And before you know it, you go from there to heuristics.

  14. Citizen on December 4, 2016, 12:48 am

    Elliot Abrams’s ridiculous hit piece on Carter’s NYT plea to Obama: ‘There He Goes Again’ — Jimmy Carter Blames…

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