§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter

I liked this book as a timely review of the history of Israel and of the conflict with the Palestinians. It goes up to the war in Lebanon last summer. And basically I agree with Carter’s premise: the situation that exists needs to end in peace, not a separation by ethnic group: situations like the treatment of blacks in the US for 100+ years after the Civil War as well as Apartheid in South Africa were incredibly destructive in place and incredibly hard to end.

I don't think choosing the word "Apartheid" in the title was unwise. The book is a warning, that this conflict needs to be solved or the result will be something that no one wants. His view is that most of the Israeli people as well as most of the Palestinian people want this conflict solved and are willing to compromise. Carter believes it's a relatively small group of conservatives in Israel responsible for the stalemate.

It’s kind of quaint that Carter always calls it "the Holy Land" which seems to me anachronistic (haven't heard it called that since Sunday School days), but I understand that that was his initial motivation to go to Israel and eventually to try to make peace. He's always concerned with the rights of everyone to worship in their Holy Places. Though I must admit his emphasis on religion bothers me a bit, mainly because he investigates situations where Christians, both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories who are discriminated against. Of course I don’t think that’s good, but it’s a side issue it seems to me.

I admire Carter for writing this book--knowing it would be controversial and that he would be stoutly criticized, as he has been. People in the US generally don't know the details of the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, nor do they know the history of Palestine and Israel since WWII. And they don't understand how secular a society Israel is, which makes the controversy not so much religious as ethnic.


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