Former President Jimmy Carter, who on Wednesday revealed he is suffering from cancer, on Thursday painted a bleak picture of the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) - and placed the blame for the deadlock on Israel.
“At this moment, there is zero chance of the two-state solution,” Carter told the British Prospect Magazine in an interview.
“These are the worst prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for years,” he added, and then proceeded to say he didn’t think that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “has any intention” of making progress towards the goal.
“The Netanyahu government decided early on to adopt a one-state solution, but without giving them [the Palestinians] equal rights,” he charged.
“They will never get equal rights [to Israeli Jews, within that single state],” predicted Carter, who added that he would like a drive to give them “more equal rights.”
Asked whether without a deal Israel was heading for apartheid, he said, “I am reluctant to use that word in a news article” but that there was real force to the argument because of the rising Arab population in areas of Judea and Samaria.
Either “Palestinians will have a majority in government” which the Jewish state would not accept, he suggested, “or you deprive them of equal rights.”
Carter has made some controversial statements with regards to Israel in the past. In May 2014, the former President supported the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) unilateral push to join international organizations in breach of the ongoing peace talks with Israel and the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The year before, he called on the European Union (EU) to label products coming from "illegal Israeli settlements" - despite the fact that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is legal under international law.
In April, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin refused to meet Carter during a visit to Israel, with a senior diplomatic source saying that Carter is "permanently damaging" to Israel and that Israel's leaders should refrain from meeting with him, on principle.
In May, he said he would not meet with Netanyahu, who had refused to meet him in any case, saying doing so would be a "waste of time."