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Is Jimmy Carter Right That Obama Should Recognize Palestine?


Is Jimmy Carter Right That Obama Should Recognize Palestine?

Juan Cole

Jimmy Carter wrote and NYT op-ed yesterday in which he called on Barack Obama to arrange for the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine and pass resolutions reaffirming the illegality of Israeli squatting on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Carter points out that there are 600,000 such Israeli squatters on stolen Palestinian land. He knows that likely Trump’s election marks the end of the US cover story that it is working toward a two-state solution.


President Carter is right on this, but I would be shocked if Obama took this principled action. Bravo to President Carter for his activism and Professor Cole for his writings.
If Obama cares at all for his "legacy" he better get hopping to secure what is now almost entirely absent in any progressive sense - Israelis have sabotaged his tenure and end to illegal colonization and deserve nothing.......................recognition would poke a sharp stick in Zionist eyes and no one deserves it more.....................


Barak Obama is simply too busy playing the chump, reprising his role initiated eight years ago - playing the role of Alec Guinness in the film 'Bridge On The River Kwai.'


If Obama did this it would be one of his most honorable actions. True, he is sorely lacking in actually valuable things he has done for eight years, but a little redemption wouldn't hurt. It is the right thing to do for the oppressed and dying Palestinians and the American people would remember it for a very long time.
The same hold true for stopping the brutalization of the Native Americans in North Dakota. He could win a great deal of respect with these two decisions.


Ehud Bara(c)k Obama should but won't recognize Palestine. He's more concerned about his legacy than anything else. The only good things he has done are: lifting sanctions against Iran, the ACA and re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba. If the Cubans in Florida had their own version of AIPAC, Obama would not have done anything about Cuba. He only ended DADT because of the protests. He would not have done that on his own.


US support for a UNSC resolution along these lines would be the principled, correct thing to do. But at this point it would amount largely to a symbolic act and wouldn't change much at all. At best, it would convey to the world that US presidents, either out of power or about to be, recognize the truth about Israeli tyranny over the Palestinians just like most reasonable people do, but are always constrained while in office by the Israel lobby from doing anything about it.

And even if Obama does it, Trump will denounce the move, pledge to veto any similar resolutions in the future and insist that it doesn't represent US policy. It may increase pressure on Trump and spur him to act on his pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, which would be a disaster. It will end up being seen as largely a personal act of President Obama.

If Obama had had real courage, he would have agreed to support such a resolution long ago, before Trump was elected, and risked political capital to help the Palestinians. He did neither. And he wasn't going to do anything that hurt Clinton's chances or risked alienating the Democratic Party donor base.

President Carter is to be commended for speaking out for Palestinians during the decades he's been out of office. Sadly, though, while the Camp David Accords bought (at tremendous cost in US taxpayer treasure) a cold peace between Israel and Egypt, history will record the agreement as a separate peace between those two countries that abandoned the Palestinians to decades more of occupation and despair. In no small measure, Sadat paid with his life for having done the deal.

One final point: in President Carter's op-ed he calls for a demilitarized state of Palestine. Why would or should Palestine agree to have such a restriction imposed upon its sovereignty? Will Israel guarantee its borders and security, ensuring that the state of Palestine exist in perpetuity as an impotent vassal appendage to Israel? It presumes that the tiny, impoverished state of Palestine would pose a realistic security threat to Israel, the greatest military power in the Middle East, when it is Israel that will pose such a threat to Palestine.