Jimmy Carter's OpEd

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Chalkperson
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Jimmy Carter's OpEd

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:12 pm

New York Times Opinion Page Monday April 28th 2008...

Pariah Diplomacy

By JIMMY CARTER

A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE Washington policy in recent years has been to boycott and punish political factions or governments that refuse to accept United States mandates. This policy makes difficult the possibility that such leaders might moderate their policies.

Two notable examples are in Nepal and the Middle East. About 12 years ago, Maoist guerrillas took up arms in an effort to overthrow the monarchy and change the nation’s political and social life. Although the United States declared the revolutionaries to be terrorists, the Carter Center agreed to help mediate among the three major factions: the royal family, the old-line political parties and the Maoists.

In 2006, six months after the oppressive monarch was stripped of his powers, a cease-fire was signed. Maoist combatants laid down their arms and Nepalese troops agreed to remain in their barracks. Our center continued its involvement and nations — though not the United States — and international organizations began working with all parties to reconcile the dispute and organize elections.

The Maoists are succeeding in achieving their major goals: abolishing the monarchy, establishing a democratic republic and ending discrimination against untouchables and others whose citizenship rights were historically abridged. After a surprising victory in the April 10 election, Maoists will play a major role in writing a constitution and governing for about two years. To the United States, they are still terrorists.

On the way home from monitoring the Nepalese election, I, my wife and my son went to Israel. My goal was to learn as much as possible to assist in the faltering peace initiative endorsed by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Although I knew that official United States policy was to boycott the government of Syria and leaders of Hamas, I did not receive any negative or cautionary messages about the trip, except that it might be dangerous to visit Gaza.

The Carter Center had monitored three Palestinian elections, including one for parliamentary seats in January 2006. Hamas had prevailed in several municipal contests, gained a reputation for effective and honest administration and did surprisingly well in the legislative race, displacing the ruling party, Fatah. As victors, Hamas proposed a unity government with Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah as president and offered to give key ministries to Fatah, including that of foreign affairs and finance.

Hamas had been declared a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, and the elected Palestinian government was forced to dissolve. Eventually, Hamas gained control of Gaza, and Fatah is “governing” the Israeli-dominated West Bank. Opinion polls show Hamas steadily gaining popularity. Since there can be no peace with Palestinians divided, we at the Carter Center believed it important to explore conditions allowing Hamas to be brought peacefully back into the discussions. (A recent poll of Israelis, who are familiar with this history, showed 64 percent favored direct talks between Israel and Hamas.)

Similarly, Israel cannot gain peace with Syria unless the Golan Heights dispute is resolved. Here again, United States policy is to ostracize the Syrian government and prevent bilateral peace talks, contrary to the desire of high Israeli officials.

We met with Hamas leaders from Gaza, the West Bank and Syria, and after two days of intense discussions with one another they gave these official responses to our suggestions, intended to enhance prospects for peace:



Hamas will accept any agreement negotiated by Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel provided it is approved either in a Palestinian referendum or by an elected government. Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshal, has reconfirmed this, although some subordinates have denied it to the press.



When the time comes, Hamas will accept the possibility of forming a nonpartisan professional government of technocrats to govern until the next elections can be held.



Hamas will also disband its militia in Gaza if a nonpartisan professional security force can be formed.



Hamas will permit an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in 2006, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, to send a letter to his parents. If Israel agrees to a list of prisoners to be exchanged, and the first group is released, Corporal Shalit will be sent to Egypt, pending the final releases.



Hamas will accept a mutual cease-fire in Gaza, with the expectation (not requirement) that this would later include the West Bank.



Hamas will accept international control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, provided the Egyptians and not the Israelis control closing the gates.

In addition, Syria’s president, Bashir al-Assad, has expressed eagerness to begin negotiations with Israel to end the impasse on the Golan Heights. He asks only that the United States be involved and that the peace talks be made public.

Through more official consultations with these outlawed leaders, it may yet be possible to revive and expedite the stalemated peace talks between Israel and its neighbors. In the Middle East, as in Nepal, the path to peace lies in negotiation, not in isolation.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

I have no comment on this matter, I am not qualified, but I was surprised nobody else posted and ridiculed it...
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Ricordanza
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Post by Ricordanza » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:01 am

The Maoists are succeeding in achieving their major goals: abolishing the monarchy, establishing a democratic republic and ending discrimination against untouchables and others whose citizenship rights were historically abridged.
I've already started a thread on Jimmy Carter's Middle East adventures, but I did a double-take when I read this about Nepal. Maoists whose goal is "establishing a democratic republic"??? This is the politics of Fantasyland.

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Post by dulcinea » Tue Apr 29, 2008 9:41 am

Ricordanza wrote:
The Maoists are succeeding in achieving their major goals: abolishing the monarchy, establishing a democratic republic and ending discrimination against untouchables and others whose citizenship rights were historically abridged.
I've already started a thread on Jimmy Carter's Middle East adventures, but I did a double-take when I read this about Nepal. Maoists whose goal is "establishing a democratic republic"??? This is the politics of Fantasyland.
Get ready for THE KILLING FIELDS: THE SEQUEL.
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greymouse
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Post by greymouse » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:40 pm

This fiasco makes me miss good ol' Gerald Ford. The man just smoked pipes and golfed. Without being so decisively ejected from public service, he nevertheless took the hint and behaved humbly.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu May 08, 2008 2:53 pm

Now this former President of the United States is writing op-ed pieces in which he skewers the United States' foreign policy and even more so that of one of its closest allies (not to mention that his argument is incredibly naive and one-sided) in a foreign newspaper that is notoriously anti-American. I guess it won't happen since Congress is controlled by Democrats now, but if there is any type of official censure that could be passed just to get on the record how disgraceful this man's behavior is, I think it would be entirely appropriate:

A human rights crime
The world must stop standing idle while the people of Gaza are treated with such cruelty
5/8/08
Jimmy Carter
The Guardian,
The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world. An entire population is being brutally punished.

This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers.

Israel and the US refused to accept the right of Palestinians to form a unity government with Hamas and Fatah and now, after internal strife, Hamas alone controls Gaza. Forty-one of the 43 victorious Hamas candidates who lived in the West Bank have been imprisoned by Israel, plus an additional 10 who assumed positions in the short-lived coalition cabinet.

Regardless of one's choice in the partisan struggle between Fatah and Hamas within occupied Palestine, we must remember that economic sanctions and restrictions on the supply of water, food, electricity and fuel are causing extreme hardship among the innocent people in Gaza, about one million of whom are refugees.

Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the area, causing high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children. Prior to the highly publicised killing of a woman and her four children last week, this pattern had been illustrated by a report from B'Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights organisation, which stated that 106 Palestinians were killed between February 27 and March 3. Fifty-four of them were civilians, and 25 were under 18 years of age.

On a recent trip through the Middle East, I attempted to gain a better understanding of the crisis. One of my visits was to Sderot, a community of about 20,000 in southern Israel that is frequently struck by rockets fired from nearby Gaza. I condemned these attacks as abominable acts of terrorism, since most of the 13 victims during the past seven years have been non-combatants.

Subsequently, I met with leaders of Hamas - a delegation from Gaza and the top officials in Damascus. I made the same condemnation to them, and urged that they declare a unilateral ceasefire or orchestrate with Israel a mutual agreement to terminate all military action in and around Gaza for an extended period.

They responded that such action by them in the past had not been reciprocated, and they reminded me that Hamas had previously insisted on a ceasefire throughout Palestine, including Gaza and the West Bank, which Israel had refused. Hamas then made a public proposal of a mutual ceasefire restricted to Gaza, which the Israelis also rejected.

There are fervent arguments heard on both sides concerning blame for a lack of peace in the Holy Land. Israel has occupied and colonised the Palestinian West Bank, which is approximately a quarter the size of the nation of Israel as recognised by the international community. Some Israeli religious factions claim a right to the land on both sides of the Jordan river, others that their 205 settlements of some 500,000 people are necessary for "security".

All Arab nations have agreed to recognise Israel fully if it will comply with key United Nations resolutions. Hamas has agreed to accept any negotiated peace settlement between the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, provided it is approved in a referendum of the Palestinian people.

This holds promise of progress, but despite the brief fanfare and positive statements at the peace conference last November in Annapolis, the process has gone backwards. Nine thousand new Israeli housing units have been announced in Palestine; the number of roadblocks within the West Bank has increased; and the stranglehold on Gaza has been tightened.

It is one thing for other leaders to defer to the US in the crucial peace negotiations, but the world must not stand idle while innocent people are treated cruelly. It is time for strong voices in Europe, the US, Israel and elsewhere to speak out and condemn the human rights tragedy that has befallen the Palestinian people.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Agnes Selby
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Carter

Post by Agnes Selby » Thu May 08, 2008 3:18 pm

Some months ago the Sydney Morning Herald carried an
article about old statesmen. The writer suggested that they should
never retire but become Presidents of Parliamentary Tourism.

This would entitle them to a fancy 6-seater open cart in which they
would take tourists around Parliament House and show them the
chair they sat in during important debates, the phone they used
and most importantly, their private WC (toilet). This important job
would keep them out of mischief and out of meddling in affairs they
know zero about.


Regards,
Agnes.
-----------------

Kevin R
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Post by Kevin R » Thu May 08, 2008 9:52 pm

What a disgrace.

Only John Tyler prevents JC from being the worst ex-president in history.
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BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Thu May 08, 2008 9:55 pm

Kevin R wrote:What a disgrace.

Only John Tyler prevents JC from being the worst ex-president in history.
Thats OK a little less than a year and Carter will have some competition

At least JC is not shilling for Rev Moon like Bush Sr. Wonder if W will join the Moonie payroll like his father?

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Re: Carter

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 09, 2008 12:41 am

Agnes Selby wrote:Some months ago the Sydney Morning Herald carried an
article about old statesmen. The writer suggested that they should
never retire but become Presidents of Parliamentary Tourism.
I think they should be led quietly out on an ice floe and left there.
Corlyss
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Cyril Ignatius
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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri May 09, 2008 4:24 pm

Jimmy Carter's freelance negotiations with other nations, coddling of terrorists and knee-jerk anti-Americanism has a long track record. Free speech should be protected, but not to the level of an ex-President sabataging American foreign policy and bestowing legitimacy on terrorists and rogue states. All federal funding to the Carter Center should be terminated immmediately. I would add that Jimmy Carter's visa should be revoked, but perhaps the energy would be better spent providing him a one way ticket to Afghanistan.
Cyril Ignatius

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