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We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land
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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:

  • Carter is one of the problems!
    A lot of the problems in the Middle East right now have evolved from Carters mistakes along with a lot of other issues this country is having.

    How can a man that is one of the problems suggest a solution?

    This book is a joke and shows no wisdom!

    Mr. Carter needs to crawl under a rock and allow people with Wisdom to decide how to handle the problems he helped create!...more info
  • Probably a decent book for the right audience ... which wasn't meb
    Reading this book made me feel a bit uneducated. And I don't normally think of myself in that way. I am something of a fan of Jimmy Carter, and I appreciate his efforts with this book. However, it is definitely geared towards the reader who has a decent knowledge of middle-eastern politics and history. I am keeping the book and hoping the give it another go ... but first I have some other learning to do....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
  • 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
  • A strong case for a balanced approach!
    President Carter continues to be a lightning rod for criticism by some people, vilified as a bible thumping moralist by the Reagan Republicans, while simultaneously being tarred and feathered as a tax and spend incompetent by current day members of the Christian Right. If you feel comfortable with either of those characterizations, why don't you just do your blood pressure a favor and look elsewhere for information. Sadly, Mr. Carter is not likely to change your mind with this book.

    If however, you do not have your mind made up as to who's right and who's wrong in the Middle East, you should find "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work" to be enlightening and informative. Whether you find it encouraging or discouraging is up to you.

    Mr. Carter does a good job of recounting the events that have brought us to the current state of affairs (some might say malaise), from Anwar Sadat's bold initiative to the Camp David accords and most recently the Bush Administration's roadmap to peace. It's not a smooth path and from my reading both Israeli and Palestinian camps have reason to regret their contributions to the lack of progress. He then outlines the preferred (by many) two state solution with sovereign entities for Israel and Palestine (and a shared Jerusalem as capital of both) and compares that to the one state solution that the region (for better or worse... likely worse) that events seem to pointed to.

    What makes this worthy of note is that through the Carter Center, President Carter has been intimately involved in working with all parties to bring understanding and rationality to a millennial set of problems. While the United Nations gets bogged down by its bureaucracy, and Mr. Carter's other affiliation with The Elders treads perhaps a little too delicately, the Carter Center has people and offices on the ground in both sovereign Israel and the West Bank. He and his colleagues speak from direct observation, not from ideological platforms.
    I can't say for sure that President Carter has the best solution, however I feel confident in my belief that he does have perhaps the best perspective of all the parties involved.
    ...more info
  • the worst US president in history is now an anti-Semite
    Anti-Semitic people have found a new hero along David Duke, the Iranian regime and Hamas thugs. Of course this stupid ex-president Carter continues to display his anti-semitism shamelessly. A brief look at the failure that is Carter, there is no bright spot and he has demonstrated that he is a low life idiot who sells his soul out to the highest bidder. Terrible regimes of Zimbabwe, Panama, Iran and then Saddam of Iraq took power during his failed presidency and under his watch. In one way or another he helped them. There's no credibility left for this shameful idiot. I wish he be tried for his crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe and Iran. Shame on Carter!...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
  • Unfortunately, being an ex-prez gives you an assumption of credibility
    Unfortunately, being an ex-prez gives you an assumption of credibility and honesty to the uninformed. In this case, it is totally unwarrranted. The book is ladled with distortions, fabrications, and prevarications in attempts to demonize Israel, and yes, Jews.

    For just one example, Jimmy writes that Israeli PM Begin agreed to divide Jerusalem. In fact, Begin told Carter the opposite, writing to him on Sept. 17, 1978: "Dear Mr. President, ...On the basis of this law, the government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel."

    And don't be fooled by those touting his cred by waving his nobel prize -- arafat got the same one, and anybody from Bill Clinton to GWB will tell you what that was worth -- zero, as he was an unrepentent terrorist willing to let the gullible think that he was willing to make peace, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

    Which brings up probably the key fallacy in Jimmy's "thinking" -- his refusal to admit that Israel's enemies are not willing to grant it a square inch of land in the mid-east, no matter what it does or does not do. (Just listen to what THEY say. You might think that the Muslim world would allow Israel (the Jews) a sliver of land out of graciousness - but you would be wrong.)

    If you are happy to see Israel "wiped off the map" per Ahmadinejihad, this book is for you.

    Unfortunately, Jimmy is an addled old coot who should be kept out in his pasture....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Carter is deceived or is beng deceived
    Carter is being deceived by the liberal left in the US, antisemitic Europeans and the Ishmaelites of the Middle East - or else he is a deceiver himself. God has given the land to Israel and it will be theirs. Anyone who works against this is working against his own Creator - not a good idea....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
  • 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
  • Ok, Lets try THIS idea...
    Have you ever put down the paper or shut off the TV news after listening to all the problems, new, old and ancient that come out of the middle east and screamed out: WHAT IN THE HELLLLL IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE???? CAN'T THEY ALL JUST GET ALONG??? Here's a guy that actually does a very good job of explaining why that can't or perhaps, can, be done. Jimmy Carter will go down in history as being, until recently, one of the most ex of ex-presidents in modern times. But, there is nothing, repeat NOTHING that you can much teach him on the middle east. The oldest us-and-them conflict since the beginning of time. In this latest read, Carter takes us from the early beginnings to the modern day in several, very easy to comprehend chapters. Although I have to admit I reread a few pages because even with the aw-schucks Carter style of telling you what is what, found myself befuddled a couple of times trying to understand it all. Carters opinion of Isreal and its leaders really came out this time. It sort of seems that the bulldog style of the Israel leadership just doesnt sit well with him and that they should chill a bit. After all, what are they in conflict about? Answer: Bits of dirt and strips of sand. Ok, bits of Holy ancient dirt and Holy ancient sand.. And yes, our favorite Georgia peacenick does a first class job of telling and teaching us why this is all so important to those involved in the conflicts. You have to give Jimmy some well deserved credit. he water-doused the keg of dynamite that was Israel and Egypt and walked away from that with hero-cult status among his peers. He has a knack of being able to walk into totally out of control explosive situations and walking out with, if not an agreement of some kind, at least an agreement to calm down for a bit. The man has guts. What about this book? As I led off, if the middle east and all its issues do nothing but confuse you and make you start rethinking fallout shelters for your backyard, give this book a go. Its not long and dragged out with pages and pages of political opinion. Its Jimmy talking in his just plain folks style. Sure, he wasn't a great prez, but his real shining star is as a statesman and respected international icon among those who spend every waking moment plotting to kill the enemy so as to take over another section of dirt or sand that is "rightfully theirs". The middle east problems change very quickly, and even this book, released in January 09, has a few hints of being dated in some factual data. Minor stuff though. This is a look at the worlds oldest and largest powder-keg through the eyes of an expert. No rants, raves and screaming. No name calling and threats. A neutrel perspective that keeps you reading. ...more info
  • disgusting
    I have always believed that Jimmy Carter was the most destructive president we have had. These last books of his shows his true colors.
    As the old saying goes....follow the money. He has sold his soul.
    Carter spews his filth and destruction all in the name of peace.
    The only "piece" he wants is the destruction of Israel.
    ...more info
  • possibily the worst president as this is the biggest lie
    Carter shows again why we have the problems in this world today. He (Carter) failed us as a people and himself as a man. The only good thing this book is good for is starting a fire to warm yourself by. Bought mine used for $.50 and that turns out to be too much....more info
  • An Honest yet Misguided Effort
    As one of President Carter's admirers, I have dutifully purchased and eagerly began reading his recent book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land. I am not a Christian, nor a Jew, nor a Moslem, but as an intellectual scientist and a curious observer, I have read the Bible (several versions, including that of the Mormons), as well as the Koran and other Holy Books. As such, I was struck by some of the comments in the President's historical account, first chapter, page five:
    If Mr. Carter would kindly consult the Bible, he will find that it was Cyrus, the king of Persia, who protected the Jews and freed the Jews from Babylon and built them a temple that according to some historians he designed himself for the freed Jews: (King James) 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1, 2, 7, 8; Ezra 3:7; Ezra 4:3, 5; Ezra 5:13, 14, 17; Ezra 6:3, 14; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1; and more, say, in Daniel 1:21; Daniel 6:28; and Daniel 10:1 where Darius is also praised.

    More germane to the point however is Mr. Carter's profusely apologetic comments to neutralize his own book -Palestine Peace Not Apartheid- that has been criticized by most pro-Israel politician and others. In this connection, Mr. Carter declares his commitment to the security of the Jewish land that belongs to them according to the Bible, and here is the main fallacy in his honest yet misguided effort.

    According to the same Bible the Israelites are entitled to the ENTIRE greater Israel that covers a multitude of international boundaries. Once one accepts the general concept that is articulated by God in the Holy Bible, the rest is simply the question of the extent of the land. And this is exactly why Mr. Carter's recipe for peace in the Middle East will never be accepted by devout Jews, in Israel, New York, or even Tehran.

    However, I must say that I find Mr. Carter's efforts to champion peace and the cause of the poor, the underprivileged, and minorities throughout the world truly remarkable and unparalleled. ...more info
  • A Most Important Book
    This book offers essential truths to achieving peace by ending the abuse of power by the Israeli government which is heavily subsidized by US tax dollars as well as contributions from American radicals. Most US citizens are not aware that our blind financial support of Israel is support for a state which has violated international law for over 30 years and which is in essence a terrorist organization.

    Carter presents the story of conflict in the Middle East calmly and patiently. My reaction to this very diplomatic and educational book is anything but calm.

    There can be no peace with continued financial and political support for an Israeli government which offers no compensation to displaced Palestinians, which not only occupies the legal Palestinian territories in violation of international law and UN resolutions, which rather than even the Old Testament "eye for an eye" retaliation, heaps 10-fold retaliation and deaths upon Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank, which restricts movement of Palestinians in their own territories, which arrests legally elected representatives to the Palestinian government, and which prevents any economic progress by Palestinians, thus guaranteeing an indefinite resentment.

    Yes, every American should read this book, or become aware of its contents. I have lived through most of Israel's history. My grandfather went to school in Wisconsin with Golda Meir, and supported Israel for years until the 1967 war. This book makes clear that it is not just Hamas and Hezbollah that are obstacles to peace, as American Zionists would have one believe - it is the out-of-control and essentially terrorist Israeli government.

    Carter gives very reasoned arguments for how peace can be achieved by the parties involved basically just keeping their word with regard to prior agreements and international law....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
  • Best of Intentiions Go Astray
    At every turn, President Carter has managed to make the wrong choices at the wrong time in the wrong way. His failure to grasp the consequences of the weakening regime of the Shah in Iran lead ineluctably to facilitating much of the discord that has happened since in the middle east. This book does not make amends for that failure....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Outstanding Plan...if Any of the Parties Will Listen and Act
    A well-reasoned argument about how peace could be achieved...Clear, realistic, statesmanlike and balanced. I always admired President Carter for his morals and ethics, qualities so out-of-place yet so needed today. ...the problem is when you have polarized extremists who believe "if you ain't for me, you're against me", reason usually isn't enough. Excellent index, nice maps; could use a glossary for those not up to speed on some of the concepts, and some photos of President Carter meeting with regional leaders would be good. Very accessible reading however, even for young and bright readers. The book does assume some familiarity with the historical background on the part of the reader. A very timely and sound book by a great President....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
  • constructive dialogue
    After President Carter's last book on the middle east that stirred passions within Israel by describing Israeli policy as a form of apartheid, he steps back into the field with a constructive look at the issue.

    No one can doubt his commitment as a peacemaker, and his previous involvement in Arab-Israeli affairs give him a unique perspective. He understands the unique role the United States and in particular, its president must play in developing solutions. While no one has a silver bullet, Mr. Carter has again advanced the conversation. An important book for people with an interest in the Middle East....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
  • 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.
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  • 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
  • Interesting presentation of current Middle East peace efforts

    Few conflicts have had duration and influence as the Israeli Palestinian one. The Middle East has been roiled by religious, political, and sectarian turmoil for centuries but the contemporary situation derives primarily from the 1967 creation of the State of Israel and its neighbors' reaction to it. The effects of this conflict extends way beyond the Middle East and involve interests of nearly all of the countries of the globe, where the nuclear war possibilities arising from the military capabilities of Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and others, make the benefits of peace in the region apparent.

    Former president and Nobel laureate, Jimmy Carter, has had personal engagement with the Middle East situation for three decades, as United States president and political official, leader of the non-profit Carter Center of international diplomacy, and as an active world citizen intimately engaged in diplomacy and peacemaking with all the key players in the Middle East in recent times. He has earned the trust of all of the key players and has a plan for permanent peace that he believes will work.

    "We Can Have Peace in the Middle East" was written partly in response to the critical reaction Carter received from a prior book," Palestinian Peace, Not Apartheid," where he attempted to balance the heavily Israeli perspective of many of Middle East observers in North America and Europe with that of pro-Palestinian ones, but also because of his belief that the newly elected US president, Barack Obama, will have the political strength and personal will to intercede in the conflict to bring decades of promising, but ineffective, negotiations to a close. Carter explains that impediments to a satisfactory resolution exist in both the pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian factions, but that it is possible to reconcile these views to reach an overriding peace agreement.

    The situation is ripe for resolution, Carter believes, because the outlines of an agreement are close, there is broad support for the agreement by the international community and the major parties themselves, and there is demonstrable support for the agreement by the peoples of the region. The obstacles to an agreement, although large, are not insurmountable. The divided and weak Palestinian government may be fixable with support of potentially effective leaders like Marwan Bargouhti, now held in an Israeli prison, and especially given outside economic support. Radicals on both sides can be marginalized, with Israeli security enhanced by a multinational peace force in the West Bank providing a security cushion from terrorists, especially those with missiles.

    Mr. Carter presents enough historical background to provide perspective on the current environment. He details his years of diplomacy and negotiations with all the major personalities in the region and explains why prior peace negotiations failed, partly due to key actors being assassinated, partly to changes of administrations in relevant nations and the PLO, and the disruption of the peace process by acts of terrorism. A major problem, he emphasizes, is the lack of political will by some officials, for a number of reasons. He implies that the Bush II administration was weak and ineffectual in dealing with the situation and lacked motivation to act effectively. He expects the Obama administration to be different.
    The most interesting sections deal with the details of the major legal and political agreements over the past five decades, beginning with the 1967 UN resolutions and including the Camp David and Oslo Agreements, the so-called "Roadmap" designed by the International Quartet - the UN, US, Russia, and the EU -- and the combined Arab nations agreement to recognize Israel and offer compromise on the major elements of discord. Important sections of all those agreements are set out in the appendices. There are a handful of useful political maps of the region sprinkled throughout the book.

    Based on the express goals of the parties to the situation and the actual text of the agreements and platforms, it is extremely frustrating to many that no peace has been achieved. Carter makes clear that the situation is controlled less by substantive disagreements and more by personalities and national and international politics, which matters may be overcome or at least massaged, so that true peace can be achieved. He implores the United States government to take advantage of the opportunity now to forge a lasting peace.

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