February 20, 2006
The Washington Post

Don't Punish the Palestinians

by Jimmy Carter

As the results of the recent Palestinian elections are implemented, it's important to understand how the transition process works and also how important to it are actions by Israel and the United States.

Although Hamas won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas retains the right to propose and veto legislation, with 88 votes required to override his veto. With nine of its elected members remaining in prison, Hamas has only 65 votes, plus whatever third-party support it can attract. Abbas also has the power to select and remove the prime minister, to issue decrees with the force of law when parliament is not in session, and to declare a state of emergency. As commander in chief, he also retains ultimate influence over the National Security Force and Palestinian intelligence.

After the first session of the new legislature, which was Saturday, the members will elect a speaker, two deputies and a secretary. These legislative officials are not permitted to hold any position in the executive branch, so top Hamas leaders may choose to concentrate their influence in the parliament and propose moderates or technocrats for prime minister and cabinet posts. Three weeks are allotted for the prime minister to form the cabinet, and a majority vote of the parliament is required for final approval. . . .


"Israel's Apartheid Worse Than S. Africa," The Wisdom Fund, February 23, 2004

"U.S. Supports Fatah, Hamas Wins Palestinian Election," The Wisdom Fund, January 22, 2006

[Israel has blocked $50 million a month in customs and tax receipts collected for the Palestinian Authority, causing a monthly deficit of $110 million.--Steven Erlanger, "Iran Pledges Financial Aid to Hamas-Led Palestinians," New York Times, February 23, 2006]

"EU to fill Palestinian funds gap," BBC News, February 27, 2006

Chris McGreal, "Israel's colonisation of Palestine blocking peace, says Jimmy Carter," Guardian, March 18, 2006

Gillian Slovo, Harold Pinter, and Stephen Fry, "In Defense of a Play," New York Times, March 22, 2006

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," London Review of Books, March 23, 2006

Gideon Levy, "Who is a terrorist?," Haaretz, April 16, 2006

[A former head of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad today said the entire Palestinian cabinet could be targeted for assassination.--"Hamas ministers warned they are Israeli 'targets'," Guardian, April 21, 2006]

VIDEO: Bathsheba Ratzkoff and Sut Jhally, "Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land," Google Video, April 22, 2006

[This is no time to try to rewrite boundaries in the occupied territories. Good-faith talks between Israelis and Palestinians are the only viable path to peace.--Jimmy Carter, "Israel's new plan: A land grab," USA Today, May 16, 2006]

[Never in the long struggle for freedom in apartheid South Africa was there a situation as dramatic as in Palestine today . . .

The root problem is the intensifying Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Despite the international court of justice ruling it illegal, Israel's 390-mile wall snakes on through the West Bank, taking another 10% of the land and providing for the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements. Nearly 50,000 Palestinians are to be left in limbo on the Israeli side of the wall; 65,000 will face a daily commute through 11 transit points.--Ronnie Kasrils and Victoria Brittain, "Israel should face sanctions," Guardian, May 19, 2006]

[Olmert may believe that Jews can succeed where Afrikaners failed, but history teaches us that in the end injustice is unsustainable.--Jeff Halper, "Olmert's (and Elie Wiesel's) Roadmap Countdown to Apartheid,", May 25, 2006]

[And even in the testimonies that did get published here, what was missing was any acknowledgement of the long-term plan to wipe the record clean of all troublesome U.N. resolutions, crush Palestinian national aspirations, steal their land and water, cram them into ever smaller enclaves, ultimately balkanize them with the Wall, which was on the drawing board many years ago. Indeed to write about any sort of master plan was to incur further torrents of abuse for one's supposedly "paranoid" fantasies about Israel' bad faith, with much pious invocation of the "peace process".

But successive Israeli governments did have a long-term plan. No matter who was in power, the roads got built, the water stolen, the olive and fruit trees cut down (a million) the houses knocked over (12,000), the settlements imposed (300) the shameless protestations of good faith issued to the US press (beyond computation).--Alexander Cockburn, "Population Transfers, Land Theft and Bankrupt Ghettos: Palestine: It's All Over,", June 5, 2006]

[Such collective punishment, identified as a crime against humanity in the Geneva Conventions, evokes the Nazis' strangulation of the Warsaw ghetto . . . This is the price Palestinians must pay for their democratic elections in January.--John Pilger, "In Palestine, a War on Children," ZNet, June 17, 2006]

Tanya Reinhart, "When Killings Don't Count,", June 22, 2006

Chris McGreal, "Climbdown as Hamas agrees to Israeli state," Guardian, June 22, 2006

[Israel's current policy in the territories, Carter writes in the book's summary, is "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights." . . . "I don't think Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon."--Jennifer Siegel, "Carter Book Slaps Israel With 'Apartheid' Tag, Provides Ammo to GOP," Forward, October 17, 2006]

James D. Besser, "Furor Over Carter's South Africa Analogy," Jewish Week, October 20, 2006

VIDEO: Jimmy Carter, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,", November 30, 2006

[ . . . why, I wonder, didn't The New York Times and the other gutless mainstream newspapers in the United States mention Israel's cosy relationship with that very racist apartheid regime in South Africa which Carter is not supposed to mention in his book?Robert Fisk, "Banality and barefaced lies," Independent, December 23, 2006]

Rory McCarthy, "Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report," Guardian, February 23, 2007

[The campaign by the advocacy group, Yesh Din, which fights for the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, follows the publication on Friday in the newspaper Haaretz of classified government data regarding the extent of construction in officially recognized settlements that is illegal by Israeli standards.

The violations include private and public building carried out without the appropriate permits or outside of approved plans, as well as the construction of whole neighborhoods on private Palestinian lands in blatant contravention of Israeli policy and law.Isabel Kershner, "Israeli Advocacy Group Begins Campaign to Help Palestinians Sue Over Settlements," New York Times, January 31, 2009]

Desmond Tutu, "Justice requires action to stop subjugation of Palestinians,", April 30, 2012

VIDEO: John Lyons, Janine Cohen and Sylvie Le Clezio, "Stone Cold Justice,", February 18, 2014

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