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We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work
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In this urgent, balanced, and passionate book, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President Jimmy Carter argues that the present moment is a unique time for achieving peace in the Middle East -- and he offers a bold and comprehensive plan to do just that.

President Carter has been a student of the biblical Holy Land all his life. For the last three decades, as president of the United States and as founder of The Carter Center, he has studied the complex and interrelated issues of the region's conflicts and has been actively involved in reconciling them. He knows the leaders of all factions in the region who will need to play key roles, and he sees encouraging signs among them.

Carter describes the history of previous peace efforts and why they fell short. He argues persuasively that the road to a peace agreement is now open and that it has broad international and regional support. Most of all, since there will be no progress without courageous and sustained U.S. leadership, he says the time for progress is now. President Barack Obama is committed to a personal effort to exert that leadership, starting early in his administration.

This is President Carter's call for action, and he lays out a practical and doable path to peace.

Customer Reviews:

  • An Excellent Vision from one of our most senior statesmen
    This is an excellent companion to Carter's other works Our Endangered American Values and Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. While this book can stand alone it is much richer in the context of his other books. All provide a wonderful personal narrative where his faith in God, his love for his country, and his dedication to peace shine clear. Carter strives to find a peace that can work while not falling into the false traps that fundamentalism of any type can place in the way of peace....more info
  • excellent
    I enjoy reading most books that have been written by President Carter. This book is no different from many of his others. If you have read his other recent book on the topic, you'll find that 70% of the books overlap. I did not find nearly enough new ideas that I'd hoped. Also, this book describes his efforts at bringing peaceful co-existence in the Middle East while sparingly bringing forth his newest ideas for stabilizing the region and bringing peace and justice and prosperity to the people of the region. This was a very quick read, probably because I'd read it before in his previous book, but, also, because he writes in a quite pleasant style and provides plenty of spaces and sufficiently large font for us old geeks. I give this book a solid B. The ideas are critical and must be discussed among scholars, politicians, and the people....more info
  • The Plain Old Truth Hurts
    I have never seen so many 1 star reviews for a book. People are giving us their opinion of Jimmy Carter and publishing it as a review and many of them are one sentence reviews. Then we have Michael Evans who wrote his review to promote his own book. Michael has praised Sean Hanitty and Bill Orielly with 5 star reviews for their books and he was friends with Menachem Begin who is quoted in the book as the "most notorious terrorist in the region." Begin is the former leader of the Irgun terrorist group which killed many innocent civilians and bombed the King David Hotel which involved the murder of dozens of people. If bombing a hotel does not qualify someone as a terrorist, regardless of what they did afterwards, than I would like Mr. Evans or anyone to explain why.

    Michael asks the question; "Could it be that Jimmy Carter's ideals are formulated by the number of zeros before the decimal on the contributions to the Carter Center by oil-rich Gulf States?" I counter this by asking; Could it be that Jimmy Carter is actually telling the truth and giving us the facts which are hard to swallow?

    People condemn Carter for being too critical of Israel and not blaming the Palestinians enough. Only two months after taking office back in 1976, Carter said in answer to reporters question that Israel needs to be "recognized by the Palestinians" and the desire to destroy Israel must change. He says in the book that "the same answer can be given today."
    He starts the book off by telling us his early fascination of the Middle East region as a kid and then gives us a brief overview of all the death and destruction that Israel and her neighbors have done to each other. The next chapter includes the awful truth of the illegal settlements and how every President since Lyndon B. Johnson has considered the settlements in the occupied territory to be illegal and an obstacle to peace.

    The settlements are the main issue that has blocked peace efforts and in chapter 11, Carter explains to us the insanity of the Israeli government in regards to this issue. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once said while she was in Jerusalem that she was "very concerned" about the continual building of settlements at a time when we are trying to "build confidence." The response by Israel was to build 1300 new homes in the West Bank and projected 40,000 more during the next decade." Israel has metaphorically given the middle finger to President Bush and every U.S. president of the last 30 years who has ever tried to stop the building of settlements on Palestinian land. This is the root of the conflict.

    In chapter 12, Carter talks about the frightening scenario of the Palestinians being absorbed into Israel in a one state solution. Prime Minister Ehud Olemert is quoted twice in interviews with Jewish newspapers Yediot Aharanot and the Haaretz as having said that if Palestinians ever demand the right to vote as citizens of Israel, "we will lose everything." He also said if a two state solution does not work, we will "face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights." You can find this all on page 164.

    He ends the book by saying the blood of Abraham continues to run through the veins of Jews, Christians, and Arabs and "too much of it has been spilled" in the holy land. He shows a poll which has the majority of Israel wanting peace, but he says that it is the minority conservative leaders in Israel that have done everything to avoid peace and these leaders and have been backed by powerful American Jewish organizations such as AIPAC. Please read the Israel Lobby for more on this.

    The final solutions that Mr. Carter suggests are summed up as: A demilitarized Palestinian state, a withdrawal of all settlers from the West Bank except from Jerusalem (which should be a capital of both states), the right of the Palestinians to return to the West Bank and Gaza, an international peacekeeping force at the borders, and a commitment from both states to recognize their right to live side by side. These resolutions are reasonable and fair, but the removal of all settlers from the West Bank is something that is difficult to imagine considering the stubbornness of the Israeli government and the unwillingness of the U.S. government to have a backbone. Only time will tell if President Obama may finally be the man to say to Israel; remove the settlements, or else.
    ...more info
    Instead we got asleep-at-the-wheel Ronnie and W's malign neglect leading to the most massive crime against humanity in the world.

    This great and former President of the United States in his great and advanced old age presents carefully in words we can all understand what he sees, after some thirty years as a leader in this area, as the best way out.

    Certainly the USA can no longer afford, financially and morally, to hemorrhage further our resources here. We must have peace here as elsewhere. Our greatest Living former President here lays the steps to peace, with primary documents from all relevant sources.

    We need to study this book carefully, and seriously. Obviously here we find the usual trolls jumping all over this book without having read it. We also see those who do not wish peace weighing in with rage against it. We see those who have been mis-educated to despise for no reason our finest living former President. What we do not see much of, as with our former President-elect's An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, is a serious consideration of the issues involved and the solution presented.

    This book is thoughtful, yet lucidly written. This book is factual, presenting aspects our media does not often publish. This book is written by our wisest elder, whom we must thank for remaining in the arena rather than retiring to jumping out of airplanes and similar ego-boosting stunts. Our former President knows he receives heat for speaking prophetically as he does here, and yet compelled by his Faith, our Faith, the Faith of all of the parties involved, he speaks, prophetically. We do well to hear him, and to act as he advises.

    Read as well his great work: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. See his Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. Read all that you can by this great American president. See especially his moving credo The Personal Beliefs of Jimmy Carter: Winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, and his several autobiographical works including A Remarkable Mother.

    Those here who slander our greatest living former president and refuse to hear him shoot ourselves in the foot, slice off our nose to spite our face, further our self-implosion and assure the continuation of suffering and death in our name and on our dime. Better it would be to hear Jimmy, and to act in faith for peace.

    Read this book now. Work for Peace, in the name of our Faith.

    For further understanding of the theological basis of this unity, please see The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims as well as Do We Worship the Same God?: Comparing the Bible And the Qur'an....more info
  • Plans that almost worked?
    I think everyone knows that peace in the Holy Land is no easy task. I have great respect for President Carter and he has possibly done more towards this task then any other American president. Perhaps the book should have been called, "CAN WE HAVE PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND? A HISTORY OF PLANS THAT ALMOST WORKED." I think Carter gives a great history of the conflict in the Middle East, in a liberal perspective, which is what anyone who knows anything about this particular president should expect....more info
  • Have not read but...
    I have not read the book (apparently, it seems, as many of the reviewers here) but am familiar with Carter's views. I just wanted to say that it is really despicable using amazon reviews as a platform to attack an honest, thoughtful, and peaceloving attempt to educate Americans about specific actions that will lead to real peace in the region, not a one-sided peace that benefits only Israelies. I have lived in Jerusalem for a year of my life and traveled throughout the West Bank and know something of the daily reality that many Palestinians face under occupation. It is time that more people knew. A better world will only be built when we learn to respect humanity as a whole, not just one small segment whom we happen to be more familiar with. I am confident that this book contributes to this noble endeavor....more info
  • Foolish
    Its really foolish to believe that the Middle East issue is one about equal rights or that it is about land. the issue is about whether or not islamic ideology will accommodate and make room for non muslims in the Middle East....more info
  • Keep out of U.S. foreign affairs
    Don't know the man's heart but from what one sees in the news reports, he apparently needs to stay with the Habitat for Humanity program. He seems to not have a clue, the same way in his presidency in the lack to get the prisoners released from a middle east country. Every man has his limitations, including him. Further more, peace in the middle east isn't from his works nor anyone else's, but by the Almighty and His time line, not some peanut farmer!...more info
  • Wise and humane statesmanship
    "We Can Have Peace" by President Jimmy Carter is probably the most even-handed and thoughtful assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that one can hope to find. Written with the maturity and perspective gained from a lifetime of interest and active commitment to the peoples of the region, President Carter suggests how a lasting peace can be achieved.

    President Carter provides a series of chapters that succinctly discusses the issues beginning with the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 to the end of the George W Bush administration. President Carter details his own involvement including the historic Camp David Accords he brokered between Egypt and Israel in 1978, which have proved durable to this day and suggest that sustained, good faith efforts between Arabs and Israels can lead to success.

    The violence of the region has not left President Carter untouched. Over the years, President Carter has built friendships with leaders such as Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin who were assassinated for their views and has witnessed the suffering of many ordinary people; yet this has not shaken his faith in people. President Carter persists in his dedication to pursuing a just path, guided both by his humanity and by a clear-eyed, astute reading of the politics of the region. Writing about his most recent project to dialogue with the key players on both sides and in neighboring states, President Carter's actions in pursuit of peace and understanding rises well above the level of petty criticism: in the person of President Carter, we are witness to the kind of wise and humane statesmanship that must be emulated by the Obama administration if it wishes to help broker a durable solution to this crisis.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to make sense of what often seems to be a perpetually confounding situation, and hope to those who believe that people can live in peace. ...more info
  • Peace in Our Time
    Give former President Jimmy Carter credit; after the firestorm caused by the title of his last book on the Middle East - "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" - it would have been easy for his prodigious scholarship to take a different direction.

    But the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient does not back away due to very vocal critics and again tackles the issue of lasting peace in the Middle East in what has the appearance of a briefing to world leaders and the major players in the region. The foundation of the book is the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967 and the diplomatic negotiations throughout those 40-plus years.

    Though Carter stresses that peace is possible, he cautions that the door may be closing on the opportunity for the power of positive diplomacy to yield a workable framework for a two-state solution. His plan is based on existing documents, which include U.N. Resolution 242 and the International Quartet's - U.S., European Union, Russia, U.N. - "road map" for peace.

    Carter - through passages from his diary and notes - also recalls some key moments during the negotiations that led to the Camp David Accords, while delving into some lesser-known issues surrounding the 2004 Palestinian elections.

    Where pessimism reigns, Carter remains cautiously optimistic. He should not be the only one. ...more info
  • The Great Carter
    Jimmy Carter is the only US President who succeeded in having Palestine and Israel sign a peace agreement. Unfortunately, the zionists killed Ytzhak Rabin (and later Arafat)and the peace treaty. Israel is controlled by extremist zionists (professional terrorists)who are interested only in the land of the Palestinians, not peace or justice. Jimmy Carter has been vilified in the west, and of course in Israel, because he really wants 2 states. Carter's books are very informative and honest. The West created and armed Israel but now Israel controls the west. In the 1940's and 1950's, the native Palestinians did not leave voluntarily their homes; they were forced to leave or killed by the armed terrorists (zionists) .... who in the world wants to leave her/his home to be homeless?...more info
  • Jimmy Carter fell short
    What's amazing to me is that every time someone writes or expresses their view about the Jewish State in any democratic manner, he/she is automatically considered anti-semitic if he/she spoke against Israel. Just go through the top reviewer (as of February 11, 2009) and notice the attitude he had towards the former president, such as disagreeing with Jimmy Carter on actual facts that happened to the man himself .
    In reality Jimmy Carter is confirming the existence of the Jewish state since its creation in 1948. We are all in line with that. He is calling for a two state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders, but his calls have been raising havoc among the Zionists who took a land they do not own by force and ethnically cleansing the locals who used to own the homes. I do not agree that the talks should be initiated based on the 1967 borders; rather than one people one nation. I am discussing the entire Palestinian territory that was confiscated from the Arabs (please remember that Arabs are Semites also). I will understand the outrage if Jimmy Carter was calling for abolishing the Jewish State and getting the land back to the Palestinians, but we all know that will never happen.
    Consequently, I am giving this book 3 stars just because a former president have the guts to oppose the Jewish State and by calling the Zionists for what they really are: Terrorists. Otherwise, it's still re-confirming the fact that the land is for the Israelis rather than the people that inhabited it in the early 1900's(by that I mean the 500,000 people that owned the land before the migration).
    ...more info
  • Clear and Concise look at the history, problems and solutions
    I am a fan of Jimmy Carter's writings, but sheepishly admit that my foreign policy knowlege is extremely lacking. Before reading this book all I really understood about the Middle East was that Israel and Pakistan were always fighting.
    Carter's book opens my eyes in a clear and concise manner. In 182 pages (not including various indexes of past treaties) he lays out the history and cultures in the middle East and who has done what to whom, why, and reverberations from those actions.
    Once the reader has been given a decent history lesson, he/she is taken through the various attempts at treaties, etc. and disseminates those to understand what has worked, and what has not, and why.
    Finally Carter clearly brings out of all this an understanding as to where the parties are at this time and what steps can be made to bring a long lasting peace to the area.
    My only complaint is about the two maps which were hard to disseminate. I wish there had been more maps with less information on each, as I believe they would have helped me to understand the situation even more.
    If you want to learn about the situation in the Middle East, or wish to see how steps can me made in our time to reach an everlasting peace in that region, then this book is for you....more info
  • The stuff dreams are made of
    President Carter has carved a historical niche for himself occupied only by JQ Adams and Herbert Hoover, the title of greatest ex-presidents. His unfailing commitment to the African continent and his globe trotting has averted disaster in Haiti and possibly North Korea. The Blood of Abraham was the first book By Mr Carter that I read on the MID_EAST, that more of an historical lecture then a idea for peace. Mr Carter is strongly leaning toward the Palestinian cause in this book ,or so it appears in first reading. The US leans overwhelmingly toward Israel, Europe overwhelmingly to Palestine. Taking this into consideration, Mr Carter has proposed nothing that seems to warrant another book[though I doubt the title of this is going to be as provocative as his last one,Peace not aparteid]besides keeping the dialogue going, which is, in the end, I suppose, better than bombs. His points seem simple to me,though not being directly involved limits my understanding. There is so much historical accretion in this conflict. It is about religion.It is bitter,hate filled, and seemingly everlasting. And it is about religion. When you get past the vitriolic slogans, it still is religion, a deep seeded distrust of anything. Mr Carter at least ATTEMPTS to do something here. That alone is commendable.Sigh. Apocalypse Now.Redux....more info
  • Great peice of history from someone who lived it
    Jimmy Carter lived through this history and is a part of it himself. After having read his last book on the issue, I was very eager to read his new addition. His purpose is clear: he would like to influence a potential new push for peace in a climate of hope that the new administration has promised.

    His popularity has waxed and waned over the years particularly as he has never been afraid to push America's traditional ally, Israel, out of its comfort zone toward what he thinks is the right thing to do, but he has CERTAINLY always been an unbending ally of Israel, regardless of what his critics have said. Controversy aside, no other statesman, particularly American president, has achieved what he has and to this day he is still loved and respected by many Israeli statesman including men who scoffed at the idea of any peace treaty with Israel's neighbors before personally hammering out the first such treaty alongside Jimmy Carter in 1979.

    This book gives a quick glance at the history and sum up of his last book "Peace Not Apartheid." He goes out of his way to reach out to those who reacted so strongly against his last book and tries his best to be objective and win some of those people back. This seems classic Jimmy Carter; he is reminding the reader his interest is peace and the long term survival of the State of Israel as a peaceful and secure country. He does a great job of outlining the options and challenges at hand today with frequent references to the Carter Center, the work they have done, and the lessons they have learned in the (seemingly failed) attempt to build the nation of Palestine with frequent references to the challenges the men and women of his day faced in forging the peace they accomplished.

    As someone who loves history books, I was glad to read this book as soon as I could, as we are watching history unfold again. It is no substitute for his last book, which was a FANTASTIC read (numerous Bible references as he goes into even more detail on his past visits to Israel), but really is a must along with his last work for anyone serious about understanding the history and politics of the region.

    Enjoy! ...more info
  • where's the beef?
    Given that Carter's smarts, experience, and humanity, I was hoping to learn a lot about the situation in the Middle East, and a set of concrete potential steps, carefully weighed out and supported.

    Instead, this book is much more a book of optimism and hope.

    While I am sure that President Carter has some very strong insights into the situation in the middle east, I didn't find them revealed in this book, so I was disappointed. Perhaps if this weren't written by someone of his stature I would not be disappointed. But coming from him, I expect a much more detailed, stronger book.

    The book is easy to read and follow, and gives a decent survey of some of the aspects of the issues in the Middle East, but I didn't find any "aha" moments, and I didn't come away from it feeling as if I were much more informed.

    The book doesn't take sides, which is good... basically, both sides are right and wrong, and the true victims are the citizens of all countries involved. The book doesn't address at all whether there are constructive ways to reduce the hatred and polarization in the region. Perhaps that is too tough of a problem to solve.

    Overall... fast read, interesting topic, but I wanted so much more... something more like The Looming Tower....more info
  • sad
    Sad to read this men delusional views of the middle east, his recent interview with Larry King shows this good man has lost his sense of reality and lives in fairy tale land . its time for Mr. Carter to stop writing his silly book and apologias to the millions he hurt during his presidency, he believes the terrorist of hamas, he believes his weak response to the Iranian hostage crises has helped in their release , he now believes that because he gave president Obama a copy he will once again have influence, sad and pathetic....more info
  • Lots of Carter, not so much of "his" plan
    Having decided to make a habit of authoring books with misleading titles, the peripatetic former President Carter now offers readers his latest thin work, "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land." I say misleading not because of any specifics of former President Carter's plan - he like anybody else is entitled to his opinion - but because he does not begin to offer it until page 159, which given that the work comes in at a slender 182 pages of original text, might make the discerning reader wonder what he or she is getting in the initial 87% of the work. Perhaps you expect this to be a background to the conflict? That too would be mistaken.

    Having reached the first days of his presidency around page 15, Carter spends more than 140 pages reviewing not so much the region in general, but rather his self imagined centrality to it and its narrative. In its way, this is an impressive trick, since other than his four year term, he has spent the next almost three decades as what could at best be charitably be described as a bit player. Undeterred by this reality, Carter does an extraordinary job of asserting himself in Zelig-like fashion into near every significant event in the Middle East that followed his1980 defeat.

    One might, perhaps, therefore dispense with these first 159 pages and consider "his" plan, were it not for the disturbing picture painted by this self promoting narrative. In a curious turn, the former President seems to imagine history as a sort of Passion Play, casting himself as the man carrying the cross. Even the most charitable of readings leaves one scratching his head at the enormous chip Carter carries on his shoulder, and his tendency to twist to demonstrate his status as a blameless victim.

    Thus, in his only consideration of his defeat by Reagan, Carter offers his shrunken share of the Jewish vote in 1980 as "...disturbing indications of significant opposition to the Camp David Accords and Israeli-Egyptian Peace Agreement..." Putting aside this statements implicit claim that Carter's defeat resulted from the votes of perfidious, parochial, peace-hating American Jews, any quick examination of the 1980 election results reveals his analysis to be dangerously misguided. Carter's 44-state landslide loss -- indeed, even his failure to win the Jewish vote - almost certainly had nothing to do with Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Did Texas flip from Carter's win column in '76 to Reagan's because of the Jews? Did Kentucky?

    Suffering punishing inflation at home and humiliation abroad, Carter lost every reliable white democratic demographic, including union members and Catholics, often by significantly higher percentages than he did Jews. There is no reason to believe that Jews were different from any of these other demographics in making a choice based on his ineffectual leadership. Yet clearly such obvious realities go beyond the former President's limited capacity for self analysis.

    A second disturbing defect of character can be found in former President Carter's seemingly limitless appetite to embrace dictators, even as he expresses an almost seething contempt for the democratically elected leader's of the Jewish state. Anwar Sadat, Egypt's assassinated authoritarian President is raised by Carter to the level of sacred martyr. President Hosni Mubarak ("old friend" as Carter notes) likewise comes in for heaping praise, this despite his authoritarian leadership of a regime as infamous for torture as it is for corruption. That Mubarak, who is approaching the end of his third decade in leadership, and by most accounts currently engaged in a Pharanoic effort to install his son as his replacement, receives such admiration should lead one to seriously question Carter's judgment.

    Nor does the former President's general analysis do a better job building confidence in his assessments. Time and again he reads less like a thoughtful diplomat and more like a Public Relations man defending a client. His acts of omission and commission prove nothing short of shocking. Thus on page 7, Carter dispenses with any mention of the murderous Arab revolt of the 1930's with its accompanying massacres of the ancient Jewish Communities of the West Bank, simply saying that the British acceded to Arab "demands" on limiting "...[the] Zionist movement and land purchases." Adding insult to injury, he follows this in the very next sentence with "violence erupted from Jewish militants," as if the gun totting Jews were crashing a collegial tea party.

    Perhaps even more disturbing, Carter extends particular efforts to whitewash Hamas and there terrorist actions. Carter spares no praise for his own success in getting Hamas to pledge "not to interfere with [Palestinian] governing authority." Then, without even breaking for a paragraph, he goes on to write that "Almost immediately Israeli voters returned Likud to power... which spelled the end of the Oslo process." In his effort to moderate Hamas Carter chooses to leave unmentioned the spate of bus and mall bombings they orchestrated which gave Likud the victory. It would seem in Carter's mind it was Israeli voters, not Arab terrorists, who murdered the Oslo process.

    Similarly, on the Hamas Charter, he claims that its contents are similar to the founding documents of the secular PLO, ignoring its explicit and seething anti-Semitism, and claims that the world's evils can be blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of international Jews.

    Having eschewed footnotes or even a bibliography, one is often left wondering where Carter might source many of his claims. For example he claims that the "Saudi Peace Plan" allows for negotiations on its details, but never mentions that several Israeli Prime Ministers have offered to meet with the Arab League to discuss the proposal, only to have these overtures rejected. While Carter claims otherwise, the Arab League has always been quite clear that theirs is a take it or leave it proposal, despite its insistence that Israel commit national suicide, by forcing a "two-state solution" both of which would be majority Arab.

    As for Carter's peace plan there is likewise here nothing new or novel. Indeed, having been accused of plagiarism for his last work, one might imagine Carter would at least show the sense and good manners to credit the many others who have made similar proposals, crediting only the "Saudi Plan." "His" plan? The creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem, with a Palestinian right of return to this new state. Unfortunately, in the fewer thirty pages he offers to describe the plan, Carter offers at best thin proof that this proposal would be acceptable to the Palestinians. One gets the feeling that the "plan" was besides the point of this book, merely a hook so that he might pull readers into his self-aggrandizing narrative.

    The whole of the Oslo process was characterized by the world's failure to listen to the Palestinians as Israel, Europe, and America all agreed on what a "just" solution would look like and simply assuming that this would likewise be acceptable to the Palestinians. Save for Carter, most of the other participants have learned from this mistake. By contrast, the former President continues to pretend that the Palestinian statements don't really matter.

    To date no Palestinian in a position of leadership has shown any appetite to compromise on the imagined "right of return," and limit it to a new Palestinian state. Likewise, I would have welcomed a footnote pointing to the Palestinian leader who was willing to embrace a state that was "demilitarized." Hamas continue to claim loudly and proudly their goal to destroy the Jewish state and murder Jews world wide, as often as not they claim this as a religious obligation. Perhaps the former President should show them enough respect to take them at their word.

    The most interesting and illuminating thing to be found in the whole of "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land" comes on page 2 and 3. There Carter offers a map of the path of Israel's much decried - and highly successful in terrorist prevention - security barrier along with a chart of the territory it encompasses. While following his habit, the former President offers no source for these documents, let us take him at his word that they are accurate. By his own admission, the barrier leaves a staggering 88% of the West Bank to its east, a large contiguous territory which might be the basis of a new 23-Arab state. One wonders why Carter doesn't even consider urging the Palestinians to accept this and Gaza as the basis of the new state. Yet it is quite clear that such compromise would not serve Carter's ends.

    Having cast himself as a victim, one should find nothing surprising that former President Carter embraces the Palestinians, a people who have made the role of hapless, helpless, blameless victim the core of their national identity. This identification can only be furthered by the fact that both Carter and the Palestinians seem to have selected the Jews to fill the role of their victimizer in their respective self-beatifying narratives. Such an identity does nothing to further the cause of peace, as an individual or group denuded of blame for the results of their actions is likewise absolved of the responsibility necessary to see that they hold to the terms of any agreement. No doubt this helps Carter and the Palestinians feel better at themselves, and that may be worth something, though likely not much.
    ...more info
  • Not great, but worth reading
    Since part of the title is "A Plan ...," I expected a book-length plan for peace. In that sense, I was disappointed. At least two-thirds to three-fourths of the book is a review of middle east history. It's primarily recent history from sixty or seventy years ago and forward through today, with special emphasis on the middle east during the Carter Administration, but there's even a smattering of ancient history, Biblical times and earlier.

    Even though I wasn't expecting a history lesson, I didn't really mind another look at something so difficult to understand. Or maybe I did mind, because being reminded of all the times it looked like steps were being taken towards peace, just to see leaders take a dozen steps back for one step forward, makes the whole situation look so hopeless....more info
  • Audio Book Review for "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land"
    Very engaging perspective from former President Carter. I learned some things from a side other than Israel's....more info
  • A rehashed update from his previous book
    Readers won't need to read Carter's previous books on Palestine now that he's written an update. My review is based on the book and NOT on any love for Palestinians or Jewish people.

    I read Carter's previous book "Peace, not Apartheid" about two years ago and reviewed it here. I agreed with his plans for peace which required both Israel and Palestine to make concessions and sacrifices. Two more spats broke out between Israel and Hamas since then.

    Apparently, neither party is ready to do that, and Hamas has recently made some bold attacks against Israel since his last book.

    This update is divided into 13 chapters and concerns Gaza, not the West Bank or the Israeli parts. The first six are basically rehashed chapters from his previous book. His feeelings come from his time at the Carter Center. Chapter 11 cover's Iran's new nuclear capabilities in "Assessment of the Region.

    Things get interesting starting in Chapter Ten, "Can Hamas Play a Positive Role?" Judging by events in Palestine/Israel in the last two months, one has to wonder if peace is ever doable between such passionate adversaries. Carter wants Hamas to do the following:

    a. Accept any peace agreement negotiated between the PLO and Israel.
    b. Accept a cease fire in Gaza.
    c. Make progress on the prisoner exchange.
    d. Cooperate with Egypt and Israel on opening Gaza gates. (This is a big one as the new Israeli government led by the hawkish Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu refuse to open up any Gaza gates.)
    e. Consider a proposal for a security force in Gaza.
    f. Meet with Israel's deputy prime minister, Eli Yishai.

    Granted, some of the above-listed proposals are going to be harder now to fulfill since there's new infighting within the new Israeli government. Hamas refuses to accept even Israel's right to exist (which alone has prolonged the battle for peace in the region). Egypt must also keep its hands clean in this matter, as well as Iran and Syria.

    Chapter 12, "Challenges to Israelis and Palestinians" reveals that Carter is also more discouraged now about a two-state solution in the region. About the Palestinians, the Carter Center's latest report revealed "...Palestinians, both in the country and in the Diaspora, are beginning to look at those Palestinians who are Israeli citizens--albeit with restricted rights--and compare their condition to living under occupation...the conclusion seems to eb that even second-class Israeli citizenship is preferable to unending occupation." (page 161)

    The final chapter, "An Agenda for Peace" reiterates many of the proposals Carter mentioned in his previous book. These proposals involve Palestian and Israeli cooperation, as well as the cooperation of all neighboring countries. Syria must negotiate with Israel over the Golan Heights. Lebanon and Israel must negotaite over the small parcel of land between them in the Shebaa Farms. Lebanon must also clean up its own government corruption. Egypt must continue to support its peace treaty with Israel. Palestine must unite within itself and stop bickering over power. Israel must stop moving new settlers into Palestinian lands.

    All of the above means changes in the region. According to Carter, he's proposing a demilitarized Palestinian state, with Israeli forces pulled out. Borders must be re-negotiated to include land swaps back to the 1967 borders. Also included is a shared capital of Jerusalem. Palestinians would be allowed back into the West Bank with mutual rights for both Palestinian and Israelis.

    The book ends with some useful appendixes (appendi?) such as the UN Resolution 242, Camp David Accords and other historical documents concerning the Region.

    This is a decent book for readers new to the issue of Palestine and Israel but it's not the most detailed. I therefore give it three stars. ...more info
  • A Good Summary of International Consensus
    Jimmy Carter's new book on prospects for peace in the Middle East gives a good, mostly balanced overview of the current situation in the region (focusing, naturally, on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians), recent peace efforts, and guidelines for moving forward. The book is written with Middle East novices in mind, so it will be mostly review for those who have read more widely on the conflicts (but still worth reading, especially for Carter's personal accounts of various discussions he has taken part in over the years). Carter does not present radically new ideas in his "plan," but rather gives a synthesis of prior agreements, recommendations, and resolutions that have already been supported by a majority of the international community.

    The basic idea of the plan is that Israel needs to cease and reverse settlement activity in the occupied territories, all Palestinian factions need actively to commit to Israel's security, there needs to be a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees who were removed from their ancestral lands without due compensation, and both Israelis and Palestinians need to have access to Jerusalem. He leans in the direction (with many Middle East scholars, including several within Israel) that the first step in the process is for Israel to stop settlement activity.

    Carter gives a good analysis of why a "one-state solution" would be disastrous to Israel, as it would create a situation where the Arab population within Israel would soon outnumber the Jewish population. At this point--it being a "democratic" state--either Arabs would eventually take over majority control of the government and Israel would cease to be a Jewish state, or the current apartheid injustices would be increased and the Arab population would increasingly be treated as second-class "citizens." And yet, until an equitable "two-state solution" (i.e. with the removal of settlements) is offered to the Palestinians, Israel will slowly become a de facto a single Jewish/Arab apartheid state--a situation that benefits neither Jew nor Arab.

    The most interesting portions of the book, to those who have already read extensively on the issue, are President Carter's personal accounts of conversations with Israeli and Palestinian leaders (largely mined from journals and notes that he kept at the time). This is something that you can't get from other books and news reports on the Middle East situation.

    Some anti-Carter critics have denounced him for referring to Menachem Begin as a "radical," (p. 30) even though Begin led a group that killed 91 people in the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. A radical action? I would say so. Moreover, Carter is nuanced enough in his worldview to understand that people are multi-faceted and able to grow and change. So he doesn't simply label Begin a "radical" and move on, but refers to him also as "honest," "congenial," "sincere," "deeply religious," and "politically courageous." A more than fair assessment, I should think.

    Carter has been mocked and criticized for saying that Hamas and Hezbollah need to be included in the peace process. Carter does say this, albeit with the stipulation that they give up violent methods and recognize Israel first before they be granted legitimacy. Both of these groups have very strong public support in their regions, so it would be foolish simply to expunge them from any peace process. We must not approve of each group's methods or all of their statements (it's worth noting, though, that both groups have moved closer to accepting Israel as a nation, if Israel gives up occupied land)--but no practical peace can be achieved by excluding popular resistance-groups-turned-political-parties entirely from the process.

    If there's a major weakness to Carter's book, it is that it is too hopeful for the prospect of peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Israel will be willing to empty their illegal settlements in the occupied territories--a step that is necessary for a just and lasting peace. It seems like expansion is more important than security to certain Israeli leaders. A change in this policy would be miraculous, indeed. And I am doubtful of the positive role that the US can play in the resolution of this conflict, even with a more moderate and diplomatically-minded president like Obama. US interests (economic and political) may simply be too tied to Israel for America to be able to be a neutral arbitrator. An outside country (or an organization like the United Nations--especially if the US can stop abusing its veto) might be the better hope for brokering a peace deal. But I can't blame Carter for his optimism.
    ...more info
  • Very Sad
    Mr. Carter continues to display his anti-semitism without shame. He is either deluded or bought and paid for, probably both. I find his words and actions shameful as usual....more info
  • A bit boring, repetitive and dull
    Jimmy Carter makes great insights in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But I feel like his publishing company kind of forced him to throw together a book to be released around the time of President Obama's inauguration. The book itself reads very slow (he basically recounts his experiences dealing with Middle Eastern leaders). Carter attempts to explain the Midlde East conflict and propose ways to fix problems on both sides, but it's nothing we haven't heard before from him.

    Overall, this is a good book to add to your political nonfiction collection. But I have to say it's a bit difficult to read (as far as staying focused), even for those who have a real interest in understanding the complexities of the region. ...more info
  • We can have peace in the Holy land; a plan that will work
    A level-headed, unbiased look at a controversial subject. I applaud Jimmy Carter for giving us a clearer picture of what has gone wrong and what needs to be done if there is ever to be peace. I just hope that The Minds will open up enough to rethink the whole situation and make an effort to cooperate. Sometimes, it seems that children can negotiate more sensibly.

    While I liked the book, I was very unhappy with the UPS service. Although promised delivery in three days, it was much longer than that, due partly to UPS sending the book from California (where I love) to the East Coast first before it finally came to me. ...more info
  • Carter is right on topic Again!
    I read this book in a one night sitting. You want to read the history and strip out the blather and bluster of the Mideast/Israel problem by a former President of the USA READ THIS! worth 10 stars....more info
  • A Profile in Courage
    Jimmy Carter was a courageous broker of peace between Israel and Egypt during his presidency--an experience that he recounts again here. He also reminds us that that treaty--unlike so many others in the Middle East--has endured for nearly three decades now.

    In other words, agree or disagree with his politics, his accomplishments in this difficult part of the world certainly should command our respect.

    Carter is optimistic about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians which--alone--would make this a noteworthy read.

    But more important for an American audience is his effort to get us to understand a more subtle point of view toward the problems than the one that is usually promoted by our politicians and in the media.

    Carter tries to get Americans to think not of "Israel" as some unchanging monolith, but to look at the Israeli government in power at any given time and what policies--in particular toward Palestinians throughout the region--it is practicing.

    Israel's foreign policy changes with changing leadership just like the United States' does. It would be helpful if Americans would pay more attention to the details of these policies than to simply have a reflexive reaction to "Israel".

    This is a book that all Americans should read. People should look at the map of Gaza and the West Bank in relationship to Israel...look at the map of the wall that Israel has the details of the historical agreements that have been signed onto...and many facts about the area--for both sides--that our media never goes into.

    Carter lays it out clearly and explicitly. He also presents the issues that should have been resolved by past agreements (but aren't, in practice) and what issues remain for the future. Stunningly, he makes a convincing case that peace in this area is possible--even likely--if the U.S. can resume its historic role as a more moderate figure that can be better trusted by both sides--and one that will accept the initiative of other countries to broker peaceful resolutions.

    The problems are complex and Carter's book combines personal anecdote, history, and political facts to encourage us all to think more deeply about what should be done to bring justice and peace, fairly, to this troubling problem.

    Definitely, this is a valuable read for anyone -genuinely- interested in--and hopeful for--those so desperately still engaged in this lengthy, and troubling, conflict. Highly recommended....more info