Palestine by Jimmy Carter

Former American President Jimmy Carter was able to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt in the 1970s, and has since stayed involved with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the former president offer his knowledge of the history of the Middle Easter and his personal insights into all sides in the conflict. Carter prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land without a system of apartheid or the constant fear of terrorism.

As far as presidential memoirs go, this is probably one of the best ones I’ve read simply because it’s on topic and concise. As far as nonfiction books on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, this is one of the poorer ones I’ve read. I applaud President Carter for recognizing the apartheid developing between Palestine and Israel, especially considering he is a former president of a country that stanchly supports Israel, and for the most part he is evenly critical of both Israel and Palestine.

“The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens — and honor its own previous commitments — by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions. The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.” (pg. 216)

However, even though his book is subtitled “Peace Not Apartheid”, it is not until the last chapter that he provides his reader with explains of Israel’s deplorable practices. Discussing this early would make it much easy for some people to understand the stances Palestinian leaders have taken in negotiations. His map of the wall being built around and into the West Bank provides a great visual, but he does his readers a grave injustice by inferring that Israel has an exemplary democracy in its own, albeit undefined, borders. And while he stresses the role of Arab countries in the peace process, most of his focus is on Egypt, but the fact that this has now fallen apart is not discussed. Finally, while I’m glad he provided the U.N. Resolutions and his Roadmap for Peace in the back of his book, they are merely referenced in the book rather than discussed.

Book Mentioned:

  • Carter, Jimmy. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Print. 264 pgs. ISBN: 9780743285025. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Simon & Schuster. Retrieved: June 16, 2010.

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