As US President-elect Donald Trump’s administration approaches, the future of American foreign policy is thrown into question.
On Monday, former US President Jimmy Carter wrote an article for the New York Times on the Israel-Palestine conflict, urging President Obama to use his remaining time in office to grant diplomatic recognition to Palestine and help it become a full United Nations member.
These steps, Carter argues, would help to secure an end to the conflict in the future.
Throughout the article, Carter references the 1978 Camp David Accords he brokered between Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, which agreed on “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied” in the conflict.
President Obama’s administration has focused on negotiating a two-state resolution to the conflict.
In 2009, he called for an end to the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. In 2011, he said that the “borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” and that “negotiations should result in two states”.
However, Carter now expresses his fear for the future of the Camp David Accords 38 years ago.
He cites the continued construction of Israeli settlements, which displace Palestinians and secure the occupation of Palestinian lands. The article also states that over 4.5 million Palestinians live in occupied territory under Israeli military rule but are not citizens of Israel. On the other hand, he says around 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine are granted the “benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws.”
This unequal policy could make a two-state resolution impossible in the future, but Carter lays out a plan for “countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself”.
First, he says, the US must recognize the Palestinian state. This would lead to a United Nations Security Council resolution defining the parameters for resolving the conflict.
Carter ends on a somber note. He suggests that this may be the last opportunity for the US to play a role in bringing peace to Israel and Palestine, saying “We must not squander this chance.”
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