From email@example.com Mon Nov 27 11:56:48 2000
Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Elizabeth Aaronsohn <email@example.com
Cc: Mike Alewitz <ALEWITZM@mail.ccsu.edu2
Subject: article by President Cartre
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 10:51:53 -0500
To: Elizabeth Aaronsohn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: article by President Carter
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 10:51:53 -0500
An underlying reason that years of U.S. diplomacy have failed and
violence in the Middle East persists is that some Israeli leaders
create facts by building settlements in occupied
territory. Their deliberate placement as islands or fortresses within
Palestinian areas makes the settlers vulnerable to attack without
massive military protection, frustrates Israelis who seek peace and at
the same time prevents any Palestinian government from enjoying
effective territorial integrity.
At Camp David in September 1978, President Anwar Sadat, Prime Minister Menachem Begin and I spent most of our time debating this issue before we finally agreed on terms for peace between Egypt and Israel and for the resolution of issues concerning the Palestinian people. The bilateral provisions led to a comprehensive and lasting treaty between Egypt and Israel, made possible at the last minute by Israel's agreement to remove its settlers from the Sinai. But similar constraints concerning the status of the West Bank and Gaza have not been honored, and have led to continuing confrontation and violence.
The foundation for all my proposals to the two leaders was the official position of the government of the United States, based on international law that was mutually accepted by the United States, Egypt, Israel and other nations, and encapsulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Our government's legal commitment to support this well-balanced resolution has not changed.
Although the acceptance of Resolution 242 was a contentious issue at
Camp David, Prime Minister Begin ultimately acknowledged its
in all its parts. The text emphasizes
inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to
work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can
live in security. It requires the
withdrawal of Israeli armed
forces from territories occupied in the recent  conflict and
the right of every state in the area
to live in peace within secure
and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
It was clear that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were
a direct violation of this agreement and were, according to the
long-stated American position, both
illegal and an obstacle to
peace. Accordingly, Prime Minister Begin pledged that there would
be no establishment of new settlements until after the final peace
negotiations were completed. But later, under Likud pressure, he
declined to honor this commitment, explaining that his presumption had
been that all peace talks would be concluded within three months.
There were some notable provisions in the Camp David Accords that
related to Palestinian autonomy and the occupation of land. A key
element was that
the Israeli military government and its civilian
administration will be withdrawn as soon as a self-governing authority
has been freely elected by the inhabitants of these areas to replace
the existing military government. This transition period was
triggered by an election in the occupied territories in January 1996,
approved by the Palestinians and the government of Israel and
monitored by the Carter Center. Eighty-eight Palestinian Council
members were elected, with Yasser Arafat as president, and this
self-governing authority, with limited autonomy, convened for the
first time in March 1996.
It was also agreed that once the powers and responsibilities of the
self-governing authority were established,
A withdrawal of Israeli
armed forces will take place and there will be a redeployment of the
remaining Israeli forces into specified security locations.
We decided early during the Camp David talks that it would be impossible to resolve the question of sovereignty over East Jerusalem, but proposed the following paragraph concerning the city, on which we reached full agreement:
Jerusalem, the city of peace, is holy to Judaism, Christianity, and
Islam, and all peoples must have free access to it and enjoy the free
exercise of worship and the right to visit and transit to the holy
places without distinction or discrimination. The holy places of each
faith will be under the administration and control of their
representatives. A municipal council representative of the inhabitants
of the city shall supervise essential functions in the city such as
public utilities, public transportation, and tourism and shall ensure
that each community can maintain its own cultural and educational
At the last minute, however, after several days of unanimous acceptance, both Sadat and Begin agreed that there were already enough controversial elements in the accords and requested that this paragraph, although still supported by both sides, be deleted from the final text. Instead, the two leaders exchanged letters, expressing the legal positions of their respective governments regarding the status of East Jerusalem. They disagreed about sovereignty, of course, but affirmed that the city should be undivided.
As agreed, I informed them that
the position of the United States
on Jerusalem remains as stated by Ambassador Arthur Goldberg in the
United Nations General Assembly on July 14, 1967, and subsequently by
Ambassador Charles Yost in the United Nations Security Council on July
1, 1969. In effect, these statements considered East Jerusalem to
be part of the occupied territories, along with the West Bank and
The Camp David Accord was signed by all three of us leaders with great fanfare and enthusiasm. President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin embraced warmly at the White House ceremony, and the final document was overwhelmingly ratified by their respective parliaments.
With the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, there was a period
of relative inactivity in the Middle East, except for the Israeli
invasion of Lebanon and the subsequent expulsion of PLO forces from
Beirut. President Reagan used the announcement of this event on Sept.
1, 1982, to address the nation on the subject of the West Bank and the
Palestinians. He stated clearly that
the Camp David agreement
remains the foundation of our policy,<.q> and his speech included the
The Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza will have
full autonomy over their own affairs.
The United States will not support the use of any additional land
for the purpose of settlements during the transition period. Indeed,
the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any
other action, could create the confidence needed for wider
participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way
necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the
confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be freely and fairly
In 1991 there was a major confrontation between the governments of
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and President George Bush concerning
Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with U.S. threats of withholding
financial aid if settlement activity continued. A conference was
convened that year in Madrid with participants of the United States,
Syria, other Arab nations and some Palestinians who did not officially
represent the PLO. At a press conference on Nov. 1, Secretary of State
James Baker said,
When we negotiated with Israel, we negotiated on
the basis of land for peace, on the basis of total withdrawal from
territory in exchange for peaceful relations. . . . This is exactly
our position, and we wish it to be applied also in the negotiations
between Israelis and Syrians, Israelis and Palestinians. We have not
changed our position at all.
Norwegian mediators forged an agreement in September 1993 between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat committing both sides to a staged peace process. Although U.S. officials were not involved in this effort, our government commemorated the Oslo Accords in a ceremony at the White House, and built subsequent peace talks on its terms and those of the Camp David Accords. So far, these efforts have not succeeded, and this year there has been a resurgence of violence and animosity between Israelis and Arabs unequaled in more than a quarter of a century.
The major issues still to be resolved remain unchanged: the final boundaries of the state of Israel, the return of, or compensation for, Palestinians dislodged from their previous homes and the status of Jerusalem. It seems almost inevitable that the United States will initiate new peace efforts, but it is unlikely that real progress can be made on any of these issues as long as Israel insists on its settlement policy, illegal under international laws that are supported by the United States and all other nations.
There are many questions as we continue to seek an end to violence in the Middle East, but there is no way to escape the vital one: Land or peace?