WASHINGTON: Former US President Jimmy Carter is asking outgoing President Barack Obama to grant diplomatic recognition to Palestine before Present-elect Donald Trump begins his tenure in January.
In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Monday, Carter said that prospects of a negotiated settlement to the prolonged conflict was in “grave doubt”, and the Obama administration must act immediately to help Palestine achieve full United Nations membership.
“We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Israel and Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration. It has been President Obama’s aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace,” he wrote.
“That prospect is now in grave doubt. I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.”
He said that the Obama administration must take this simple but vital step of granting American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, before its term expires on Jan. 20, when Trump begins his presidency.
He said 13 countries have already done that.
It was under President Carter’s administration back in 1978 that Israel’s prime minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David Accords, which was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 war.
Camp David accord called for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.
The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt and Israel.
“And those two foundational concepts have been the basis for the policy of the United States government and the international community ever since,” Carter wrote.
However, he warned that 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation.
“Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands.”
The former President said that his Carter Center has continued to support a two-state solution by hosting discussions this month with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, searching for an avenue toward peace.
“Based on the positive feedback from those talks, I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he wrote.
He also urged the Security Council to pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict.
“It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications.”
“The combined weight of United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy. These steps would bolster moderate Palestinian leadership, while sending a clear assurance to the Israeli public of the worldwide recognition of Israel and its security.”
“This is the best now, perhaps, the only, means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people.” —APP