An Open Letter to Former US President Jimmy Carter

Dear Mr. Carter, any honest person must be ashamed for you after reading your op-ed piece in the April 21 issue of The New York Times. It is replete with so many distortions, omissions, inaccuracies, even blatant lies, and tilted so much against Israel that it is impossible to let it go without comment.

Contributing Author

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Dear Mr. Carter,

Any honest person must be ashamed for you after reading your op-ed piece in the April 21 issue of The New York Times. It is replete with so many distortions, omissions, inaccuracies, even blatant lies, and tilted so much against Israel that it is impossible to let it go without comment.

The title itself speaks volumes: ?America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace.? This wording implies that it is Israel that objects to peace and all efforts must be directed towards forcing her to make this ?just peace.? To prove this, you begin by enumerating Ariel Sharon's follies, with which you think you can convince the reader that the current situation is all Israel's fault. Then you put on kid gloves when dealing with Yasir Arafat. While recalling Sharon's ?invasion of Lebanon? you are completely quiet about the fact that Lebanon was destroyed by, and because of, Arafat and the PLO, and that the Israeli soldiers were greeted as liberators by flower-bearing Lebanese people. Among Sharon's sins you mention his ?provocative visit to the Temple Mount.? If you want to be an honest broker, you should use similar adjectives any time you write or speak about Moslems and Christians, as well. Thus you must classify as ?provocative? both Catholics' visits to the Vatican and Moslems' visits to Mecca. Perhaps you believe that Jews should not have the same rights as the representatives of other religions? The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish people, and, as a Jew, Ariel Sharon has all the rights to visit it, if you agree that Christians and Moslems can visit their holy places. You write about Sharon's ?destruction of villages and homes,? but somehow you forget to mention the 470 Israelis murdered by Arafat's gangs, and you are shy to mention the spate of suicide bombings in the streets of Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel-Aviv, and Netanya that finally forced Sharon into action. After reading your words, one might conclude that ?destruction of villages and homes? for no reason at all is simply Sharon's favorite hobby.

You do not even notice how biased you are, placing the blame squarely on Israel. According to you, it is Ariel Sharon who ?encouraged misguided young men and women to sacrifice their own lives in attacking innocent Israeli citizens.? Mr. Carter, you should be better informed. Just read the MEMRI Special Dispatch bulletin of March 31. There you will learn that in his interview on March 29 with Al-Jazeera TV, concurrently shown on PA television, Yasser Arafat proclaimed, ?But we ask Allah to grant us martyrdom, to grant us martyrdom. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions. To Jerusalem we march - martyrs by the millions.? Perhaps you are not aware of a March 13 opinion poll conducted by a group of an-Najah University students. As reported by the Palestinian Authority (PA) official web-site it demonstrated that ?87.4% of those polled supported continuation of martyrdom operations against the Zionist entity.? They support these attacks Mr. Carter, because ?79.2% believe that the Intifada is capable of defeating the Zionist enemy.?

We should probably thank you for noticing that the terrorists, whom you called ?misguided young men and women,? are attacking ?innocent Israeli civilians.? Though, honestly, don't you think that instead of the word ?attacking? the terms ?murdering,? or ?slaughtering,? better describe the barbaric acts committed by the Arabs against the Jews? Can it be, Mr. Carter, that you do not understand that the main problem with the suicide bombings is not that they ?discredit the Palestinian cause? and ?obstruct efforts toward peace and justice,? but that they destroy lives? It is life that is the most precious thing. It is the lives of Jews that the Palestinian Arabs abhor.

Mr. Carter, it is hard to imagine that in describing the September 11 terrorist attack on America, you would refer to the perpetrators of this barbaric act as ?misguided young men.? Now, if you compare Israel's casualties incurred only since September 2000, with America's recent losses, in proportion to their population sizes, you will find that Israel has suffered half a dozen September 11 in the past year and a half. Therefore it is inexplicable that in your 940-word article, when referring to the killers of the Jews you do not mention the word ?terrorist? or its derivatives a single time. At the same time, you try to present the PA as a vibrant democracy.

You devote an entire paragraph to the ?democratic elections in the West Bank and Gaza? when ?Yasir Arafat was elected as president.? Perhaps you can remember another democratic election, in which Adolf Hitler was democratically elected as the leader of the German people. Democratic elections do not preclude the elected leader from becoming a murderer and a criminal. Actually, Arafat had long been a well-known murderer and terrorist, and it is hard to believe that you are the only American who seems to be unaware that long before these ?democratic elections,? Arafat had given direct orders to murder captured American diplomats.

The elections of which you are so proud took place in January, 1996. You wrote that ?it was a time of peace and hope, and there was no threat of violence or even peaceful demonstrations.? If that is so, how is it that more than 140 Jews were killed in terrorist attacks by Arabs during this ?time of peace and hope? (from September 1993, when the Israel-PLO accords were signed, to January 1996)? Maybe you are unaware that the first ?misguided young man sacrificed his life? in 1994?

Mr. Carter in your attempts to square a circle, you resort to misinformation and obfuscation of truth. You write that the premise of UN Resolution 242 is the ?withdrawal of Israelis from Palestinian lands in exchange for full acceptance of Israel and Israel's right to live in peace.? Nothing can be farther from the truth than this statement. The word ?Palestinian? is not mentioned in the resolution. The term ?Palestinian land? is not mentioned either. The resolution speaks about Israel's rights ?to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.? It speaks about future relations between the states that were part of the 1967 war. Neither a state by the name ?Palestine? nor the ?Palestinian people? existed at that time. So the Resolution could not possibly require Israel to withdraw from ?Palestinian lands.?

When you suggest ?using persuasion on the Israelis?, you write that ?none of the actions toward peace would involve an encroachment on the sovereign territory of Israel. They? involve lands of ? Palestinians, as recognized by international law.? That is a blatant lie, Mr. Carter. The lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which you try to present as ?Palestinian lands,? have never been recognized as ?lands of Palestinians? by international law. They are disputed territories, the unallocated portion of the British mandate. These are the territories on which the Jews were given legal rights to settle by Article 6 of the Mandate. That right has never been revoked.

You are right, Mr. Carter, when you state that ?The existing situation is tragic and likely to get worse. Normal diplomatic efforts have failed.? However, your conclusion is absolutely wrong. It is not only wrong, but it is disgraceful and shameful. You suggest that America blackmail Israel by withholding American military and monetary aid. You forget that Israel is not a banana republic. Israel is the single most loyal American ally and your suggestion to ?punish? Israel, while not even hinting at applying pressure to Arafat's regime, is simply outrageous.

In truth, you are even sympathetic to Arafat. You try to understand his predicament, suggesting that ?he may well see the suicide attacks as one of the few ways to retaliate against his tormentors.? Mr. Carter, could you be so kind as to explain who Arafat's ?tormentors? were from 1993 until the beginning of this year? Maybe you have in mind former American President Bill Clinton who was ?torturing? him together with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, trying to force him to accept nearly 97 % of the ?occupied lands? in question, including half of Jerusalem. You do not even mention this incredibly generous Israeli offer to the Arabs in your article. Please do not make it sound as if the terrorist attacks started only last month.

In your article, there is just one useful statement. You write that ?it is time for the United States, as the sole recognized intermediary, to consider more forceful action for peace.? Yes, the time is long overdue for the United States to stop playing political games and to use force. This force should be used through her proxy - Israel, the only real democratic state in the Middle East. America should allow the Jewish state to crush Arafat's terrorist regime and to dismantle the infrastructure of terror. As Benjamin Netanyahu said in Washington on April 10, in his remarks at the briefing for members of the United States Senate, ?There is no political solution to terror. You have to defeat terror militarily in order to have a political process. Yasser Arafat's terrorist regime must be toppled, not courted.?
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.