Palestine by Jimmy Carter
  • Title: Palestine
  • Subtitle: Peace Not Apartheid
  • Author(s): Jimmy Carter
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  • Year: 2008-09-04
  • ISBN-10: 184737512X
  • ISBN-13: 9781847375124


Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” by Jimmy Carter is a thought-provoking exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of a former U.S. president and diplomat. In this book, Carter provides a detailed account of the ongoing conflict, offering insights into the historical context, the intricacies of the peace process, and the challenges faced by both sides. The central theme of the book is the assertion that a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine coexisting side by side in peace, is the only viable path toward a just resolution of the conflict.

Carter draws upon his experiences, including his work on the Camp David Accords during his presidency, to provide a unique perspective on the complex geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. He explores the various obstacles to peace, including the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the status of Jerusalem, and the rights of Palestinian refugees. Carter also addresses the role of the United States in the conflict and suggests that a more balanced approach is needed to promote peace and justice in the region.

The book has generated significant controversy due to its critique of Israeli policies and its use of the term “apartheid” to describe the situation in the occupied territories. While some praise Carter’s courage in addressing these issues, others have accused him of bias against Israel. “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a polarizing book that encourages readers to grapple with the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and consider the prospects for a lasting peace agreement in the region.

In conclusion, Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a book that sparks important conversations about one of the world’s most enduring and contentious conflicts. It is recommended for readers interested in international relations, diplomacy, and the Middle East, as it offers a high-level perspective on the conflict and the challenges of finding a path to peace. While the book may be controversial, its contribution to the ongoing discourse on this critical issue makes it a relevant and engaging read for those seeking a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Book Review

'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid' – A Controversial Exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a book that invites readers to confront the complex and contentious Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lens of a former U.S. president and Nobel laureate. In this 2006 publication, Carter provides an insightful examination of the historical context, the peace process, and the hurdles that have obstructed a peaceful resolution to this enduring struggle. The book is a testament to Carter’s commitment to the pursuit of peace and justice in the Middle East.

Carter’s book is a powerful combination of personal experience, diplomatic insight, and deep empathy for the people affected by the conflict. As a key player in the Camp David Accords that led to the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1978, Carter brings his first-hand knowledge to the pages of “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” This perspective allows readers a unique and privileged view of the complexities and challenges involved in brokering peace in the region.

One of the central themes of the book is the necessity of a two-state solution as the only viable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Carter argues that both Israelis and Palestinians must have their own sovereign states, living side by side in peace. He draws attention to the impact of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which he views as a significant obstacle to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. His concerns extend to the status of Jerusalem, whose future remains a flashpoint for tensions in the region. Carter also advocates for addressing the rights of Palestinian refugees, emphasizing that a comprehensive peace agreement must encompass these crucial issues.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the book is Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” in the title. He applies it to the situation in the occupied territories, comparing the Israeli control of Palestinian territories to the apartheid system of racial segregation that once existed in South Africa. The use of this term has sparked significant debate and criticism, as it is seen by some as a provocative and inaccurate characterization of the situation.

Carter’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is framed by his belief in the need for a more balanced U.S. policy in the region. He suggests that the United States has often been perceived as favoring Israel, to the detriment of the peace process. Carter contends that a more impartial stance is essential for fostering trust and achieving lasting peace. He criticizes some of the positions taken by the Israeli government, such as its construction of settlements in the West Bank, which he sees as a violation of international law.

While “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” has garnered praise for Carter’s willingness to address these controversial topics and engage in a candid dialogue, it has also faced strong opposition. Critics argue that Carter’s book displays bias against Israel and downplays the complexity of the conflict. The use of the term “apartheid” has been particularly contentious, as it is viewed by some as an oversimplification of a multifaceted and deeply entrenched dispute.

Despite the controversy, the book has contributed significantly to the ongoing conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Carter’s work is an essential read for anyone interested in the intricacies of international relations, diplomacy, and the Middle East. It challenges readers to confront the challenging aspects of the conflict while underscoring the need for a just and lasting resolution. “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a book that encourages dialogue, provokes thought, and emphasizes the urgency of working towards peace in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

In conclusion, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a thought-provoking and at times polarizing exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Carter’s unique perspective, shaped by his presidential experience and his deep involvement in peace negotiations, offers valuable insights into the challenges and complexities of the conflict. It is recommended reading for those who seek a comprehensive understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, even as they grapple with the book’s controversial aspects.

Word Count: 697

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.

Key Ideas

Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” presents several key ideas that shape its central argument and discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  1. Two-State Solution Carter advocates for a two-state solution as the only viable path to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He stresses the need for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own independent, sovereign states living side by side. Carter emphasizes that the international community, particularly the United States, must actively support and promote this solution to resolve the conflict.

  2. Israeli Settlements A recurring theme in the book is the detrimental impact of Israeli settlements in the West Bank on the prospects for peace. Carter argues that these settlements hinder the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state by fragmenting the territory. He views them as illegal under international law and a significant obstacle to peace negotiations.

  3. Jerusalem The status of Jerusalem remains a major point of contention between Israelis and Palestinians. Carter underscores the importance of addressing the issue of Jerusalem in any comprehensive peace agreement, acknowledging its significance to both parties.

  4. Palestinian Refugees The book addresses the rights and concerns of Palestinian refugees who were displaced during various conflicts. Carter asserts that their plight must be addressed as part of a comprehensive peace agreement and that the international community should actively work towards finding a just resolution for these refugees.

  5. U.S. Policy and Impartiality Carter criticizes what he perceives as a pro-Israel bias in U.S. foreign policy, which he believes has hindered the peace process. He calls for a more impartial U.S. stance in the region to build trust with all parties and contribute to lasting peace.

  6. The Term "Apartheid" Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” in the book’s title and content has been highly controversial. He applies this term to describe the situation in the occupied territories, comparing it to the apartheid system that existed in South Africa. The use of this term has sparked debate and criticism, as it is seen by some as an inaccurate and provocative characterization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  7. Dialogue and Diplomacy Throughout the book, Carter emphasizes the need for dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiation as the primary means of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He highlights his own experiences as a diplomat and his belief in the power of diplomacy to achieve peace.

These key ideas provide the framework for Carter’s analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” They reflect his commitment to finding a just and lasting solution to the conflict and his belief that the international community, particularly the United States, has a crucial role to play in achieving this goal. Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” serves as a stark reminder of the urgency of the situation and the need for a comprehensive and impartial approach to peace.


Target Audience

Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is targeted at a diverse audience interested in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its historical background, and potential solutions. The book is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • General Readers The book provides a comprehensive overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers historical context and analysis accessible to general readers. Carter’s straightforward writing style and his personal experiences as a former U.S. president make the complex issues more understandable for those seeking an introduction to the topic.

  • Students and Academics Students of international relations, conflict studies, political science, and Middle Eastern studies will find the book to be a valuable resource. It offers a well-documented account of the conflict’s history and presents key concepts that are important for academic study. Additionally, it stimulates critical thinking about the role of the United States in the peace process.

  • Policymakers and Diplomats “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” addresses the role of U.S. foreign policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making it relevant for policymakers, diplomats, and government officials. The book presents a perspective advocating a more impartial U.S. stance in the region and promotes diplomacy as a means of resolving the conflict.

  • Advocates and Activists Individuals and groups advocating for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East will appreciate Carter’s call for dialogue, diplomacy, and a two-state solution. The book can serve as a source of inspiration and as a tool for raising awareness of the conflict’s complexities.

  • Peace and Conflict Scholars Scholars interested in the dynamics of peace and conflict resolution will find this book to be a valuable case study. Carter’s emphasis on negotiation, dialogue, and the challenges of mediating a deeply entrenched conflict offers insights and lessons for researchers in this field.

In conclusion, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is recommended reading for a wide range of audiences due to its accessible presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the historical context it provides, and its recommendations for a peaceful resolution. While it is not without controversy, the book serves as a starting point for discussions and debates on the conflict, making it a valuable addition to the literature on the topic.

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