"The crisis facing Palestinians nowadays has been created by no other than some European philanthropists in concert with policy makers in Washington and Tel Aviv. But aside from the political and financial boycott mounted against the democratically elected Palestinian government, Israel has not shown readiness to go to a full truce in all of the Occupied Territories similarly to the truce that was holding in the Gaza Strip prior to this latest barrage of Qassam rockets and Israeli military retributions. Palestinians are in support of a full truce that would encompass both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank…While Palestinians are ready to be realistic they are not ready to surrender their rights. Our struggle is to end Israeli occupation once and for all and to secure the inalienable rights of our people."- Dr. Bernard Sabella, Christian member of Palestinian Legislative Council Representing Jerusalem.
Sabella wrote how Israel is being asked to ease travel restrictions in the West Bank and at Gaza crossing points in stages over the next several weeks and the Palestinian Authority is to take specific steps against arms smuggling into Gaza, to develop a plan by June to stop missile firings into Israel by militants in Gaza, and to deploy forces there to implement it. Israel's preoccupation with security rather than with justice and equal human rights which would lead to security and peace seems to have put an end to the planned bi-weekly meetings between President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"The overwhelming majority of Palestinians want to see a breakthrough in the peace process, irrespective of the dismal internal political situation. An agreeable peace accord with Israel would tremendously improve overall conditions and would make the proposed truce with Israel a permanent reality. This may sound too simplistic or wishful thinking as the road to negotiations have tremendous hurdles that some, on all sides, believe are insurmountable. The problem though is not in wishful thinking but rather in the mounting frustration felt by many on all sides because of inaction on peacemaking at the highest political levels, particularly in Washington and Tel Aviv but also in the EU Community.
"Lip service for peace abounds but in the end the test that peace is possible is laid back onto the Palestinian President and Palestinians in general. They are expected to deliver particularly on the security issue while the more powerful Israeli neighbor/occupier can continue with all kinds of policies and measures intended to contain and control Palestinians.
"So Palestinians are placed in the most difficult position: as they express genuine desire and eagerness for peace and as they are suffering a prolonged military occupation they are also asked to provide Israel with a hermetically guaranteed security. Only then would Israel feel comfortable and would possibly ready itself for talks with the “well behaved” Palestinians.
"Meanwhile Israel continues to exercise its prerogative agenda of separation, hundreds of checkpoints, expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and other measures of dispossession of Palestinians and their land. This situation certainly spells further frustration and disappointment among Palestinians as it seriously weakens not only the Presidential Institution but other Palestinian governing institutions as well. Israeli measures on the ground in the Occupied West Bank, whether by plan or serendipitously, are eroding both the possibility and feasibility of a two-state solution.
"The resulting cantonization of West Bank towns, villages and communities and their separation from each other and from their rural and commercial hinterlands would in the long run become ripe ground for the development of extremist groups bent on confronting Israeli occupation and the expanding Israeli Jewish settlement of Palestinian lands. On the Israeli side, Israel would increasingly be characterized as having turned its back to values so long cherished by its own people in their long and complex history and experience because of the ways of separation and control that it chooses to continue to exercise over the Palestinians and their land."- Dr. Bernard Sabella, May 22, 2007
On May 18, 2007, Jimmy Carter spoke with Gaby Wood of The Observer at the Carter Centre in Atlanta. Carter's 21st book since he left office in 1981, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid was topic one.
Carter remained firm in his view that: "thanks to the current administration - the situation in 'the most volatile region of the world' is the worst it has ever been. The war in Iraq, he made clear, has cemented Arab animosity towards the United States and Israel, strengthened Iran, and given Hamas and Hizbollah new life. 'This is the first administration since Israel became a nation that hasn't made any real effort to have peace talks,' he told me. 'We haven't had a single day of peace talks now in six years and five months. It's left a vacuum there, and vacuums are always filled with increased violence.'"
In a phone interview with an Arkansas newspaper, Carter had been asked to compare Bush's foreign policy with that of Richard Nixon. He replied that 'as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history'. The same day, James Naughtie asked Carter on Radio 4's Today what he thought of Tony Blair's relationship with Bush. He said he thought it was 'abominable; loyal, blind, apparently subservient'." 2 [IBID]
The down side was Carter's television interview attempting to retract some of his statement, appearing to regret breaking the unspoken rule - that past presidents do not insult current incumbents, even when it is the truth.
"Since I left the White House, I've probably spent more time in Sudan than in the Middle East, because we can only go to the Middle East when I'm able to get permission from the White House. And, uh, that permission has been spasmodic, to say the least [but he is] immersed in the Mid-East situation constantly."
When Carter's book was published, the Anti-Defamation League, led by the pro-Israeli Abraham Foxman, ran large ads in all the major US newspapers attacking the book for engaging in anti-Semitism.
Carter replied, "If I thought I was wrong about anything I'm saying, I'd be devastated by the way I'm being attacked. But I believe in what I'm saying…[apartheid] the word is the most accurate available to describe Palestine. Apartheid is when two different people live in the same land, and they are forcibly segregated, and one dominates or persecutes the other. That's what's happening in Palestine: so the word is very, very accurate. It's used widely, and every day, in Israel."
"The US Jewish Establishment's onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all; through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp."- Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni spoke to Yediot Acharonot on December 20, 2006.
Carter continued, "There's no possibility in our country of a member of Congress or a candidate for President saying that they're going to take a balanced position between Israel and the Palestinians - or to speak out with concern about Palestinian human rights: that's impossible in this country."