We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land
Carter offers a succinct history of the state of Israel and its relations with surrounding Arab nations, and in particular the Palestinians who were largely displaced at its founding and remain the central characters in the drama. He describes the wars, the occasional peace treaties (as between Sadat’s Egypt and Israel), the many failed efforts at solution (Oslo, Camp David) and his own participation. He traces his interest in and commitment to Israel stemming from his Christian roots and his Bible teaching. Starting with his presidency, he details his own involvement in various peace processes. He offers vivid descriptions of his relations with many world leaders, and they are very frank. He has moving descriptions of his losses, and of the deaths of his friends Sadat and Rabin whom he loved.Carter doesn’t contradict his earlier judgments about what he clearly feels is the intransigence of some Israeli administrations, but he is intent here to prove his openness and his deep experience in the region plus his friendships with many Jewish leaders, writers, and intellectuals. He is critical of some of his own mistakes, appreciative of Clinton’s efforts (which failed too) and very negative in his judgment of George W. Bush’s neglect of the effort to assert the U.S. into a vigorous role. He emphasizes urgency, not only in the increasing danger of radicalization of the Muslim World and of more violence, but in Israel's demographic vulnerability. There is a steep difference in birth rates and few more immigrants to bolster Israel's population. Carter’s bottom line is that the U.S. must lead the effort to find peace and he quotes many Arab and some Jewish leaders as insisting on that fact. He also calls for Israel to take down the wall and to withdraw its settlements on Palestinian ground. He asserts there will be no peace until Hamas recognizes Israel and renounces violence. He offers steps to achieve progress and seems to be putting some amount of hope in an Obama administration.