Monday, September 10, 2007
Fmr. President Jimmy Carter on “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Iraq, Greeting the Shah of Iran at the White House, Selling Weapons to Indonesia Duri
With Amy Goodman
"In his first interview with Democracy Now!, former President Jimmy Carter talks about what led him to write “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, his controversial book that argues Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Territories are the main barrier to peace. Carter also discusses his regrets over sending arms to Indonesia during the occupation of East Timor and recounts his dealings with the Shah of Iran. The 39th president also assesses the Iraq war and reflects on the 25th anniversary of the Carter Center, which has focused on election monitoring and health initiatives around the world.....
AMY GOODMAN: President Carter, I wanted to switch gears to talk about the raging controversy over your book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
JIMMY CARTER: I didn’t know it was still raging, but that’s interesting.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, it raged for a while, and now the book is coming out on paperback with a new afterword. And you dealt with that, you talked about it being perhaps the most controversial thing that you’ve done, maybe, to your surprise. So, start with the title. Talk about the message you’re trying to put out with this book.
JIMMY CARTER: Well, the message is very clear. It deals with Palestine, not inside Israel itself, just the Palestinian Occupied Territories. And the second word is “peace.” I describe in this book the efforts for peace so far and my formula, which I think is very reasonable, for bringing peace to Israel and to Israel's neighbors. And I repeat that over and over with a strong condemnation of any kind of terrorism that afflicts innocent people by the actions of either the Palestinians or the Israelis.
And the word “apartheid” is exactly accurate. You know, this is an area that’s occupied by two powers. They are now completely separated. Palestinians can't even ride on the same roads that the Israelis have created or built in Palestinian territory. The Israelis never see a Palestinian, except the Israeli soldiers. The Palestinians never see an Israeli, except at a distance, except the Israeli soldiers. So within Palestinian territory, they are absolutely and totally separated, much worse than they were in South Africa, by the way. And the other thing is, the other definition of “apartheid” is, one side dominates the other. And the Israelis completely dominate the life of the Palestinian people.
AMY GOODMAN: Why don't Americans know what you have seen?
JIMMY CARTER: Americans don't want to know and many Israelis don't want to know what is going on inside Palestine. It's a terrible human rights persecution that far transcends what any outsider would imagine. And there are powerful political forces in America that prevent any objective analysis of the problem in the Holy Land. I think it’s accurate to say that not a single member of Congress with whom I’m familiar would possibly speak out and call for Israel to withdraw to their legal boundaries or to publicize the plight of the Palestinians or even to call publicly and repeatedly for good faith peace talks......"