The peace situation in the Middle East has been very contentious. Palestine, particularly, has been very violent. The nation of Israel has been in constant fight over the Palestinian territory. Up to a certain degree, even civilians have been affected; through the wars and the conflicts going on in different areas in Israel and the Palestinian region. Although Israel found itself against most of the Arab nations in the world, it was able to survive the difficulties of the region through the help of its allies, particularly, the United States of America (Dershowitz, 2004).
Ironically, through the involvement of the US with the affairs of Israel in the Middle East, it earned the ire of a number of Arab countries (Wasserstein, 2003). Israel and Palestine: A Profile of a Conflict The US has been involved extensively in several efforts in brokering peace between the nation of Israel and Palestine. In some ways, it has been successful but in others, the US needed to provide military support to Israel to help it with its situation. There has been several contentions though in trying to understand the relationship of the United States and Israel.
As former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter (2006) was also involved in the relationship of his country with Israel. He has written a monumental book Palestine Peace No Apartheid, which has been considered as a bookseller all over the world. Carter’s primary reason for writing the book is the presentation of facts and events regarding the peace situation in the Middle East, particularly in Israel and Palestine. In doing so, his intention is to revive the peace talks that have stopped for more than six years when he wrote the book in 2006.
He also wishes to deal with the two major obstacles to a long-term peace in the Palestine region. One is the way in which Israel took control of the land and continues to persecute the Palestinians residing in the area. On the other hand, Palestine also promotes and indirectly honors the suicide bombers sowing discord and violence even among civilians in the area. These two main beliefs that the opposite side holds continue to aggravate the situation and prevent them from achieving a suitable compromise for the sake of peace in the region.
Carter presented the situation of Israel and Palestine through a chronological presentation of his presidency as it unfolded. His approach also went beyond that of his presidency. He also outlined the legacy of the past US president that he succeeded. With such an approach, he set the state of events when he entered the political arena that the United States was in. After outlining his own presidency, he also traced the peace-making activities engaged into by the administration of those who succeeded him such as George Bush, Bill Clinton, and the current administration of George W.
Bush. He presented his understanding of the facts in the seventeen chapters of his book (Carter, 2006, p. 37). He also explored several themes and political issues in the relationship of Israel and Palestine and the important issues that tend to undermine the peace process in the region. In addition, he also explores the role of the United States in the process. Jimmy Carter also called for the cessation of violence and terrorism on the part of both Israel and Palestine.
The civilian death toll has reached horrifying heights even though they are supposed to be part of the armed combat that the two sides of the conflict are engaged in. Carter also claimed that Israel has occupied Palestine although there have already been a lot of people residing in the area. The state of Israel has seized different areas of significance and has affected the civilian population of both sides. This has gone on for more almost forty years by the time that Carter wrote the book. In addition to this, there are artificial divisions imposed upon the Israelis and Palestinians.
Inclined towards the Side of Palestine Carter’s point of view, however, tends to be inclined to the cause of the Palestinians. He cites the different oppression that Palestinians are undergoing, which includes being prohibited from the places of worship and the difficulties of Arabs to pass through the borders of Israel. More than that, the West Bank houses a wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians. A number of conflicts have arisen along this wall and thousands of civilians have lost their lives due to violence occurring near this wall.
In addition to West Bank, Israeli forces have also taken over Gaza and deprived the Palestinians the use of their own land according to Carter. Although there have been important strides made in the realm of promoting democracy in Palestine, Israel and the United States have declared economic restrictions against Palestine because of the victory of Hamas in the past elections. Because of this, the people of Palestine are experiencing shortage of their needs in every area of life. More than that, they also do not have access to the territories of Palestine that Israel has already occupied.
According to Carter, the efforts of Mahmoud Abbas, who is the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, to talk with Israel to negotiate peace have been rebuffed. As such, the violence and conflict continues to this day. Carter’s analysis of events point out to the shortcomings of Israel to follow up on its commitments to uphold its end of the bargain. What is needed is a firm commitment on the part of Israel to give back the territories of Palestine that it has occupied.
All of the international and regional peace accords arrived at by the UN Resolutions, the Camp David Accords, which was negotiated in 1978, the Agreement in Oslo in 1993, and the different policies of US regarding peace in the Middle East are all based around the premise that Israel should give lands back to the Palestinians. Carter also pointed out the necessity for Palestine to recognize the legal stay of Israel within the borders of Palestine. This assertion of Carter, however, is highly controversial one as it proposes a very dramatic resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Jimmy Carter and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict The proposals made by Jimmy Carter in his book are bold and courageous. In a way, his book is also reminiscent of his own term as US President in which he was able to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. This was instrumental in bringing a measure of peace to the Middle East region. After leaving the presidency, he has remained aware of the developments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East. He has even made trips to Palestine in order to grace some events and conduct talks and research in the region.
Everyone longs for peace in the Middle East. The wars fought in the region have been very frequent. As such, the lives of people are constantly disrupted because of the escalation and eruption of violence. Carter sees the peace process in the Middle East as one which gives dignity to Palestine and justice in regards to its claims over the lands that it occupies and those that are now being occupied by Israel. In his conclusion, the author outlined a three-step approach to end the violence and conflict in the area. The first one is that Israel’s security should not be undermined in any way.
In addition to that, the legal boundaries of Israel should be established. But before that can be done, the major internal debates occurring in different segments in Israel should be resolved. Lastly, the borders of any nation, whether they be in the Middle East or elsewhere should be respected and upheld. As a consequence, this means that Israel might have to retreat and surrender back the lands that it has claimed in the past years. Conclusion Jimmy Carter’s book is a courageous book and attempts to present the facts to the Americans, who tend to have conflicting viewpoints regarding the situation in the Middle East.
His use of the term “Apartheid” in the subtitle of the book, however, appears to be uncalled for and conjures images of violence based on the discrimination of race in societies such as South Africa. The use of this term seems to be inappropriate for his subject matter. In a society that is quite afraid to truly deal with the situation, Carter’s voice jolts people in their seats and calls on the importance of working for peace in the Middle East, particularly, for Israel and Palestine.
This is a scathing rebuke of the lack of peace talks spearheaded by the current administration of the United States. In addition to this, Jimmy Carter appears to cast his administration in a positive light in regards to the topic of peace-making in the Middle East and berates the present administration for its lack of efforts in resolving the conflict in the region. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for several decades now. There are a number of competing views and perspectives regarding the involvement of the United States in this conflict.
Yet, Carter’s voice is another voice shouting for the necessity of working for peace. He even suggests several paths that can be followed. However, it remains to be seen whether his approach works or whether he is only adding to the cacophony of confusing sounds. Reference Carter, J. (2006). Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. New York: Simon and Schuster Dershowitz, A. (2004). The Case for Israel. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Wasserstein, B. (2003). Israelis and Palestinians. Yale University Press.