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Carter: Israeli 'domination' over Palestinians is 'atrocious'

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Ron Brynaert
Published: Monday November 27, 2006

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Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter called Israeli "domination" over Palestinians "atrocious" during an interview Monday on ABC's Good Morning America, RAW STORY has learned.

Appearing on the morning talk show to promote his new book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, Carter dismissed criticism by some Democrats that his book comes down too harshly on America's key ally in the Middle East.

Robin Roberts told Carter that "many people find surprising that you come down a little hard on Israel, and that there have been some key Democrats who have distanced themselves a little bit from your view on Israel."

"In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said 'it is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based suppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously,'" Roberts said. "What is your response to that?"

"Well, Robin, I have spent the last 30 years trying to find peace for Israel and Israel's neighbors, and the purpose of this book is to do that," Carter responded. "But you can't find peace unless you address the existing issues honestly and frankly."

Carter said that there was "no doubt now that a minority of Israelis are perpetuating apartheid on the people in Palestine, the Palestinian people."

Many Democrats are uncomfortable with Carter's use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israeli policies. Even Congressman John Conyers, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman known for his more liberal ideology, has criticized the term's usage.

"Conyers stated recently that the use of the term 'apartheid' in the book's title 'does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong,'" wrote Michael F. Brown for The Nation.

However, Brown, a fellow at the Palestine Center, noted that "Nobel Peace Prize recipient Bishop Desmond Tutu has made the same connection as Carter."

"I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa," Tutu wrote over four years ago.

On Good Morning America, Carter called Israel's occupation the "prime cause" of continuing violence in the Middle East.

"And contrary to the United Nations resolutions, contrary to the official policy of the United States government, contrary to the Quartet so-called road map, all of those things -- and contrary to the majority of Israeli people's opinion -- this occupation and confiscation and colonization of land in the West Bank is the prime cause of a continuation of violence in the Middle East," said Carter.

"And what is being done to the Palestinians under Israeli domination is really atrocious," Carter continued. "It's a terrible affliction on these people."

In his book, Carter argues that "peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens and honor its own previous commitments by accepting its legal borders."

An excerpt from Carter's book can be read at this link.