Saturday, August 05, 2006

Stop the Band-Aid Treatment

By Jimmy Carter
Washington Post

The Middle East is a tinderbox, with some key players on all sides waiting for every opportunity to destroy their enemies with bullets, bombs and missiles. One of the special vulnerabilities of Israel, and a repetitive cause of violence, is the holding of prisoners. Militant Palestinians and Lebanese know that a captured Israeli soldier or civilian is either a cause of conflict or a valuable bargaining chip for prisoner exchange. This assumption is based on a number of such trades, including 1,150 Arabs, mostly Palestinians, for three Israeli soldiers in 1985; 123 Lebanese for the remains of two Israeli soldiers in 1996; and 433 Palestinians and others for an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers in 2004.
This stratagem precipitated the renewed violence that erupted in June when Palestinians dug a tunnel under the barrier that surrounds Gaza and assaulted some Israeli soldiers, killing two and capturing one. They offered to exchange the soldier for the release of 95 women and 313 children who are among almost 10,000 Arabs in Israeli prisons, but this time Israel rejected a swap and attacked Gaza in an attempt to free the soldier and stop rocket fire into Israel. The resulting destruction brought reconciliation between warring Palestinian factions and support for them throughout the Arab world.
Hezbollah militants then killed three Israeli soldiers and captured two others, and insisted on Israel's withdrawal from disputed territory and an exchange for some of the several thousand incarcerated Lebanese. With American backing, Israeli bombs and missiles rained down on Lebanon. Hezbollah rockets from Syria and Iran struck northern Israel.
It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, but it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking the devastating response. The result instead has been that broad Arab and worldwide support has been rallied for these groups, while condemnation of both Israel and the United States has intensified.
Israel belatedly announced, but did not carry out, a two-day cessation in bombing Lebanon, responding to the global condemnation of an air attack on the Lebanese village of Qana, where 28 civilians were killed this past weekend and where 106 died from the same cause 10 years ago. As before there were expressions of "deep regret," a promise of "immediate investigation" and the explanation that dropped leaflets had warned families in the region to leave their homes. The urgent need in Lebanon is that Israeli attacks stop, the nation's regular military forces control the southern region, Hezbollah cease as a separate fighting force, and future attacks against Israel be prevented. Israel should withdraw from all Lebanese territory, including Shebaa Farms, and release the Lebanese prisoners. Yet yesterday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected a cease-fire.
These are ambitious hopes, but even if the U.N. Security Council adopts and implements a resolution that would lead to such an eventual solution, it will provide just another band-aid and temporary relief. Tragically, the current conflict is part of the inevitably repetitive cycle of violence that results from the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, exacerbated by the almost unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve such a goal.
Leaders on both sides ignore strong majorities that crave peace, allowing extremist-led violence to preempt all opportunities for building a political consensus. Traumatized Israelis cling to the false hope that their lives will be made safer by incremental unilateral withdrawals from occupied areas, while Palestinians see their remnant territories reduced to little more than human dumping grounds surrounded by a provocative "security barrier" that embarrasses Israel's friends and that fails to bring safety or stability.
The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international "road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel's official pre-1967 borders must be honored. As were all previous administrations since the founding of Israel, U.S. government leaders must be in the forefront of achieving this long-delayed goal.
A major impediment to progress is Washington's strange policy that dialogue on controversial issues will be extended only as a reward for subservient behavior and will be withheld from those who reject U.S. assertions. Direct engagement with the Palestine Liberation Organization or the Palestinian Authority and the government in Damascus will be necessary if secure negotiated settlements are to be achieved. Failure to address the issues and leaders involved risks the creation of an arc of even greater instability running from Jerusalem through Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

The people of the Middle East deserve peace and justice, and we in the international community owe them our strong leadership and support.

Former president Carter is the founder of the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy Carter is known to be the worst US president still alive.

About 10 years ago he become a mumbling idiot. Don't take his words blindly.

Someone from USA.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will not be freedom in any part of the world until every single human being accepts and respects the way of life of each other.
every religion has its pros and cons. the real battle is between governments, not between people. they live from hate and disagreement of their folx with their enemy. they do everything they can to keep it up. tvshows, radio, news.
the leaders of each country let the people below them only know what they wnat them to THINK. i dont think think there is a war between culturs or religions. there is a war between some mighty assholes, who only care for themselves. my belief is, that every human is equal. no matter what religion, what race, skin color or philosophy. i think that WE can stop it. WE are the people. WE are more powerful than the governments and WE want peace and no money-influenced mind. There are and always alwas have been good talkers and charismatic people, which used their gift to enrich themselves as in political or financial power. what if every human would just take what he/she needs? our worldwide society SUCKS! It doesnt work. No world-government will cure this. It's up to every single being. Every major religion (i dont KNOW the real truth) has on in common: respect and love. I think THATs the point where we should grab our hands an fight against the haters, not the people. There is much work to be done. Dont take a political side. No Human is to be worshipped. Humans with power like to keep it! (look down on you an say that this isnt true) there are no "better" humans. We are all getting brainwashed by industry! (yeah.. you really need that hdtv-tv or $70000 mercedes, newest handy-ringtone, nike-shoe or levis-jeans. sure.) got a middlefinger?

This fucking planet can not serve all this to all people. We will waste it if go on like this. IF we go on like this, we will kill millions of people. Stop it now. Maybe we souldn't have come out of our caves. We're such a mess. And everyone knows it.

Just make this world a better place. Somehow. Please. If there is a GOD, i think he/she/it is crying right now. If there is a devil, i think he/she/it is masturbating.

GermanGuy

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Ellis Hanna, Jr said...

Truer words were never spoken. The current administration is fighting terrorism thru it's proxy Isreal and it is costing we taxpayers for the past half century $2.5 billion plus a year. It is time for us to let our congressmen know how we feel. They might listen and not fear APAC and it's power over our coutry.

12:06 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

To someone from the USA

You have absolutely no idea about what you speak. None. The bumbling idiots are the people like you who open your mouths and let whatever happens to be at the front of your head spurt out. Go back to your kennels and tend the dogs. You have no idea about compassion and concern for others. You are, in the wise words of Ronnie Reagan, "a fucking idiot."

Someone else from the USA - who dislikes fools and idiots so much he thinks they ought to be strapped to one of the bombs just before it's dropped.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Jim W., Minnesota, USA said...

I voted for Jimmy Carter and yes, he was ineffectual and a poor leader. He's trying to make up for it now but is not very good at it.

He says in his messge: "It is inarguable that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens...."

Then think of the stated aim of Hezbollah and the state leader of Iran....

Hezbollah must be destroyed along with all terror groups.

12:45 AM  
Blogger HCB said...

Good idea - let's kill all terrorists and "destroy all terror groups." A question: How will you do that? Another question: How will you know when you've done it? Yet another: When should we start in Africa - destroying the terror groups, I mean. Is it not possible to imagine that a Palstinian mother or a Beirut grandfather might think of Israelis as "terrorists?" So - do we need to define precisely what a "terrorist group" is? It can't be defined as those who attack innocent civilians or infrastructure, obviously. It can't be defined as those who attack without warning or from hiding. It can't be defined as those who use bombs to blow up buildings with people in them - innocent or not. It can't be defined as those who kill children or expectant mothers. So - will it be only those who kill people we think shouldn't be killed? Oh - I imagine the idea would include "killing without reason or provocation." Seems to me a case could be made by some in the muslim world that they've been provoked a long time - a lot longer than Israel, that's for sure. (Remember - Israel has only been around since Europe couldn't figure out what to do with all the wanderers. America didn't want them - turned the boat around. Europe didn't want them. Then, a lot of people thanked God for the Zionist movement. It answered the question about where to put the wanderers - out of sight and hopefully out of mind. Of course, it provoked a bunch of people by rousting them out of bed and saying "This is now Israel - shut up and get out.") So - it might not be fair to imagine "terrorists" as those who have acted without provocation.

Anyway - how in the world are you going to kill or destroy all "terrorists?" Doesn't that really mean kill everyone in the world who isn't Christian or Jewish AND doesn't claim any right of self-determination? By the way - I don't think it's fair either to say terrorists use themselves as bombs. I imagine if Hamas had F-16s and Maverick missiles, they'd prefer to use them rather than people. The targets are the same - innocent people in Israel, innocent people in Beirut. The results are different - a lot more are killed by sophisticated bombs than are killed by a bomb strapped to someone's body.

At some point - don't people have to start thinking like Carter? That you can't live by killing everyone you hate? If we can come up with the cash and the equipment and the people to do all this killing, couldn't we maybe figure out how to get along without killing? I mean - figure it out. We've spent about 500 billion in Iraq so far. If there are a million terrorists, we could have bought them off for a lot less. Couldn't we? Even if there are 50 million terrorists. Imagine the surprise if Israel said, "tomorrow we are going to start building hospitals and schools and apartments for Palestinians ....."

It's a shame, but true. It's easier to talk about killing and hate than it is to think about love and compassion. That's the problem with having a proud to be "c" student as president being told what to do by an evil pervert of a vice president while he's surrounded by toadies and fires anyone who thinks.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

well put, hcb.

Jim, you don't get it. Carter is much better as a peace-maker now than he was as a president in the 70s. Carter's line of thinking is spot on.

All terror groups should be eliminated? Quite so. Now tell us how, Jim. Hell, we can't even get rid of the ones within our own borders, and we want to pretend to tell Lebanon, a nation facing grief and war for the past 35 years, what they should do? Maybe we should get our own house in order before blindly imposing our values on others.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HCB,

Thanks for the entertainment. I love to see "compationate" people like you explode. For your information: people in Lebanon and Israel are paying with lives for mistakes that Carter made years ago. This compassionate asshole was supporting shah of Iran until last moment, instead of dumping him. As a result mullas took over Iran, and eventualy created Hizbollah.

Fuck comationate people like him.

PS. And fuck you too.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do u want to put the blame on carter for the death and terror inflicted on innocents now? thats idiotic...tell me, where do you put the blame for the okhlahoma city bomber, ...? nobody takes responsibility for his/her actions. by the way, HZ was created after Israeli invasion of S. Leb., not because Carter was friends with the shah.

7:30 AM  

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