We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work [NOOK Book]


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...
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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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The former president's audio edition of his latest title has an enhanced CD featuring downloadable, helpful maps and relevant historical documents. The maps, in particular, add valuable context and demonstrate the volatile overlapping of cultures and faiths in a relatively small sliver of land. As an added bonus, the package also contains a sample CD from Bringing Peace to a Changing World, the third volume in Carter's acclaimed Sunday Mornings in PlainsBible study series. Perhaps comparing a straightup audio book adaptation with recordings of Carter in a dynamic and spontaneous teaching environment is unfair, but listeners will notice the stark contrast between Carter's competent but stilted delivery in We Can Have Peace and the animated and engaging speaking style of Sunday Mornings in Plains. A Simon & Schuster hardcover (reviewed online). (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

These two works complement each other nicely. Both authors have had many years of involvement in the issues; both express hope about how peace can be achieved. Sadat (A Woman of Egypt), widow of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, who won the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for his courageous recognition of Israel, combines her analysis of peace negotiations with her perspective as a devout Muslim and a successful professional woman. Carter focuses more exclusively on political issues from his background overseeing successful negotiations between Israel and Egypt in 1979 and his subsequent years of engagement in Middle Eastern issues. Both believe that the issues of Israel's security, Palestinian sovereignty, stable borders, settlement of refugees, and the status of Jerusalem can be resolved through solutions already outlined in principle. Both identify Israeli settlements and occupation of the West Bank along with the weakness and fragmentation of Palestinian leadership as key obstacles to peace. Carter emphasizes the history of negotiations since the 1970s, a growing recognition of the possibilities of two secure states in the Holy Land, and the destructive influence of militant minorities in each society. He also stresses the necessity for strong and sustained U.S. involvement to keep negotiations moving. In contrast, Sadat's focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is broadened by her exposition of her husband's career, her development as a writer and teacher in the United States after his assassination, and her understanding of Islam as a religion that supports tolerance, diversity, democracy, and an active role for women. Both authors remind us that a majority of Israelis andPalestinians want peace. These two books would be valuable additions to most libraries because of the perspectives they provide for understanding this dangerous conflict.
—Elizabeth R. Hayford

From the Publisher
“Its most important intended reader should take seriously
Carter’s advice to pursue peace.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Balanced, deeply felt. . . a thoughtful and much needed addition to the discourse. . . Eschews the partisan recriminations and historical gerrymandering that typify most discussions of the conflict. . . . Carter offers a pragmatic solution. . . . If only everyone involved in this issue were as considered and optimistic as Jimmy Carter.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“As always, his is a voice to be listened to.” —Booklist

“Carter is illuminating and inspiring in this knowledgeable insider’s history.”
—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439148808
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 1/20/2009
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 619,805
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. In 1982, he and his wife founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world. Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He is the author of over two-dozen books, including An Hour Before Daylight, Palestine Peace not Apartheid, and Our Endangered Values. He lives in Plains, Georgia.
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Read an Excerpt


Storm Over a Book

I am writing another book about the Middle East because the new president of the United States is facing a major opportunity -- and responsibility -- to lead in ending conflict between Israel and its neighbors. The time is now. Peace is possible.

The normal path to resolving conflicts in this regional tinderbox should be through political leaders in Israel, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon, with assistance when needed from Egypt, other Arab nations, and the international community. Yet for the past fifty years the United States has been widely recognized as the essential interlocutor that can provide guidance, encouragement, and support to those who want to find common ground. Unfortunately, most leaders in Washington have not been effective in helping the parties find peace, while making it harder for other potential mediators in Europe, the Near East, and the United Nations to intercede.

This peace effort should not be seen as a hopeless case. Five Nobel Peace Prizes have been won by leaders who negotiated successfully in 1979 and in 1993 -- one Egyptian, three Israelis, and one Palestinian. But the unpleasant fact is that there has been no tangible progress during the past decade and a half, despite significant efforts during the last years of the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Recent highly publicized peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders have broached difficult issues but ultimately failed to narrow differences. At the same time, Israel and Syria became engaged early in 2007 in "indirect" conversations sponsored by Turkey, a fragile Gaza cease-fire has been implemented, and there has been an exchange of prisoners and the remains of others between Israel and Hezbollah but no further plans for easing tension between Israel and Lebanon.

As will be explained in the text, one of the notable developments in the region has been the repeated proposal by all twenty-two Arab nations to have normal diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel, provided major U.N. resolutions are honored. They have also said that modifications concerning controversial key issues could be considered in good-faith negotiations. This peace offer has been accepted by all Islamic nations and lauded by top U.S. officials, and Israelis have said it is a good basis for discussion.

If pursued aggressively with the full support of the United States and other members of the International Quartet, this Arab proposal could provide a promising avenue toward breaking the existing deadlock in promoting peace. This might make possible the formation of a multinational peace force in the West Bank to guarantee Israel's security, the release of prisoners (including a prominent jailed leader, Marwan Barghouti, who might heal divisions), updating the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to include members from Hamas and other factions, and reconciliation between the two major Palestinian political parties. If a general framework could be forged, it would be difficult for minor factions to block a peace agreement.

Absent any real progress, conditions continue to fester, with Palestinians divided into two major parties. One group, Fatah, is "governing" in some parts of the West Bank not controlled by Israel (see Map 1, which shows actual control), supported officially by the international community as the dominant element of the PLO. Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority to succeed Yasir Arafat, and he heads an interim government with most members from his Fatah Party. The other major group, Hamas, controls the small area of Gaza under the leadership of a group of local militants and more influential leaders of the politburo in Damascus, Syria. There are loyal supporters of these two major parties in both Gaza and the West Bank, and some tentative efforts are detectable among them and from other Arab leaders to reunite the two factions. As will be explained in Chapter 10, unified Palestinians, with a workable government and a competent security force, are a prerequisite to any substantive peace agreement with Israel, but these initiatives have been blocked or undermined by mutual animosity and by opposition from Jerusalem and Washington.

It has not been possible for the weak and divided Palestinian leadership to eliminate acts of violence against Israel from within the occupied territories, and many Israelis are fearful for their personal safety and for the ultimate security of their nation. To defend themselves, they accept their government's policy of harsh reprisals and the constant expansion of settlements, although the majority of Israelis do not support the settlements as an alternative to peace. Except for some infrequent public statements and assurances given to me based on the prospect of an Israeli-PLO peace agreement, Hamas has not acknowledged I srael's right to exist and will not forgo violence as a means of ending the occupation of Palestinian territory.

For more than three decades, a major focus of my personal interests and political activities has been to help end the conflict among Israelis and their neighbors. As president of the United States and a leader of The Carter Center, I have had a special opportunity to study the complex and interrelated issues and to consult with leaders of all significant factions in the region who have been involved in these issues and will have to play key roles in reaching this elusive goal. I have learned some useful lessons, which I hope will help the reader understand the current situation more clearly.

Despite the recent lack of progress, I see this as a unique time for hope, not despair. The outlines of a peace agreement are clear and have broad international support. There is a remarkable compatibility among pertinent United Nations resolutions, previous peace agreements reached at Camp David and in Oslo, the publicly declared policy of the United States, the Geneva Accord, key goals of the International Quartet's Roadmap for Peace, and tentative proposals made by all Arab nations for reconciliation with Israel. Perhaps most important, there is an overwhelming common desire for peaceful and prosperous lives among the citizens of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Tentative steps are being taken or contemplated by these players, all waiting to be consummated with American leadership.

We already have a firm promise from our new president that he will make a personal effort for Middle East peace from the beginning of his administration. The United States will find all parties to the conflict -- and leaders of other nations -- eager to support strong, fair, and persistent leadership from Washington. This will not be easy. Everyone who engages in Middle East peacemaking is bound to make mistakes and suffer frustrations. Everyone must overcome the presence of hatred and fanaticism, and the memories of horrible tragedies. Everyone must face painful choices and failures in negotiations. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the time is ripe for peace in the region.

In the following pages I will describe -- as succinctly and clearly as possible -- the past history, my own personal involvement and observations, present circumstances, key players, and steps that can and must be taken by the president of the United States to realize this dream of peace, with justice, in the Holy Land. Experiences of the recent past offer valuable lessons as to what to avoid and how to proceed.

In fact, I learned a lot from the reaction to the publication of my book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. When I completed the text of this book about Palestine in the summer of 2006, there had not been a day of peace talks for more than five years. In addition, there was no discussion in our country of the basic issues involved, and little interest in the subject. I and others representing The Carter Center had monitored three elections in the occupied territories and had gained an intimate knowledge of the people in the West Bank and Gaza and the issues that shaped their lives. I wanted a good forum to present my views, and I felt that explaining my book throughout the country would best meet this need.

I knew from experience how very difficult it was to sustain any objective political analysis in the United States of this important subject, primarily because few prominent political candidates or officeholders would voice any criticism of the current policies of the Israeli government. This meant that news media that were inclined to be objective had little to report other than occasional stories originated by their correspondents in the Middle East. On my visits to the region I found these reporters very knowledgeable, and they shared many of my concerns. I felt a personal responsibility to describe the situation, as best I could, to the American public, the news media, and members of Congress. I wanted to stimulate debate and perhaps some interest in reviving the moribund peace process. These were the underlying purposes of my book.

For most American readers, my book was the first time they had encountered both sides of these complex issues, including some rare criticism of Israeli policies in the occupied territories. Only by explaining both perspectives would it be possible to see how differences could be resolved and peace achieved.

As the text neared completion, I wanted a title that would be both descriptive and provocative. The working name on my computer was simply "Palestine Peace," but I didn't consider this to be adequate. I also tried "Land, Walls, Guns, or Peace," and finally decided on "Palestine Peace Not -- -- ," and began to search for the most descriptive final word. Over a period of weeks it became clear that it was apartheid, a word that had been used many times by prominent Israelis, Israeli news media, and visiting observers. These included a former attorney general, scholars and legislators, editors of major newspapers, human rights organizations, and litigants who appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. Many of them used and explained the word in harsher terms than I, pointing out that this occupation and oppression are contrary to the tenets of the Jewish faith and the basic principles of the nation of Israel. Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and human rights activists from South Africa who visited the territories had used the same description.

I intended the word apartheid to describe a situation where two peoples dwelling on the same land are forcibly segregated from each other, and one group dominates the other. I thought the title and text would make it clear that the book was about conditions and events in the Palestinian territories and not in Israel and that the forced separation and domination of Arabs by Israelis were based on the acquisition of land and not on race, as had been the case in South Africa.

I realized that this might cause some concern in Israel and among I srael's supporters in America, but I intended to emphasize these distinctions in dozens of public presentations. Before this happened, I had copies delivered directly to the offices of all members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. This proved to be a mistake. Without claiming to have read the text, some prominent Democrats condemned the title, and this provided the basis for many of the questions during my subsequent media discussions.

In more than a hundred interviews and many speeches, I found the questioning to be challenging and not unpleasant, but I was surprised and distressed when I was accused of being an anti-Semite, senile, a liar, a plagiarist, a racist, unfamiliar with the region, and a supporter of terrorism -- these charges were made in public statements and in full-page newspaper advertisements. This was especially painful because some of the ad hominem attacks came from Jewish friends and organizations that had been supporters and allies while I was president and during the succeeding years.

In retrospect, I should have realized that the previous use of the word apartheid during the spirited debates in Israel had already aroused the sensitivity of many Israeli supporters in America about I srael's being equated with the racist regime in South Africa. To introduce it into an almost nonexistent discussion of the Palestinian issue in our country was highly controversial. Another factor was a carryover from my presidential years, of doubts about my commitment to Israel, as will be described in Chapters 2 and 3. Also, I underestimated the debating skills of those with whom I was now engaged, and was surprised by their personal attacks. Another mistake was not attempting to build earlier and broader political support among groups that were dedicated to peace in the Middle East.

I was eager to explain my thesis to every available audience, but I especially enjoyed the exchanges at a number of universities where I spoke and then answered questions from large groups of students. In each case I urged them and their professors to visit Palestine and ascertain whether I had exaggerated or mistakenly described the situation. Christian travel groups and other tourists were encouraged to visit Bethlehem and other holy sites within Palestine to observe the intrusive wall and the devastating impact of the occupation on the lives of Palestinian Christians.

Although I did not enjoy some of the criticisms, the book and my explanations of it did bring about a debate, which was my principal goal. In addition, President Bush finally announced a peace initiative, to begin with a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, with observers invited from a wide range of countries.

In August 2006, Jeff Skoll, chairman of Participant Productions, asked if I would permit a full-length documentary film to be made about my work at The Carter Center. He was the first president of eBay and more recently had produced the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth, and several other motion pictures that accumulated eleven Oscar nominations that year. Later, I agreed to the proposal when he informed me that Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) had offered to direct the film.

Jonathan and I considered several theme options, including our Carter Center work in Africa and our Habitat for Humanity projects building homes in the area of the Gulf Coast damaged by Hurricane Katrina. He finally decided just to follow me around with high-definition cameras and record my daily activities. In November, his filming included the early days of travels to explain the Palestine book. There were dramatic news media interviews, discussions, arguments, speeches, book signings, and demonstrations that produced more than a hundred hours of recorded activities. These were interspersed with more tranquil scenes as I lectured at Emory University, interrelated with my neighbors and family, taught Bible lessons, made furniture, painted, exercised, and performed the duties of a farmer. Titled Jimmy Carter Man from Plains, the motion picture premiered in July 2007 and won several awards at film festivals. The high point of the film was my lecture and exchanges with the students at Brandeis University, which were charged with emotion and encapsulated the complex factors that must be addressed in the search for peace.

Copyright © 2009 by Jimmy Carter

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Table of Contents


List of Maps

Introduction: Storm Over a Book

1. From Abraham's Journeys to the Six-Day War

2. My Early Involvement with Israel

3. Peace at Camp David

4. Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton, 1981-2000

5. The Early Bush II Years, 2001-2005

6. Withdrawal from Gaza and Its Aftermath

7. Spasmodic Peace Efforts, Long Overdue

8. How Close Is Israel to Its Major Goals?

9. A Search for Information

10. Can Hamas Play a Positive Role?

11. Assessment of the Region

12. Challenges to Israelis and Palestinians

13. An Agenda for Peace

Appendix 1: U.N. Resolution 242, 1967

Appendix 2: Camp David Accords, 1978

Appendix 3: Arab Peace Proposal, 2002

Appendix 4: Key Points of the International Quartet's Roadmap for Peace, April 30, 2003

Appendix 5: Israel's Response to the Roadmap, May 25, 2003



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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Useful proposals for peace in the Middle East

    This very useful book puts forward proposals for peace in the Middle East. The international community, as expressed and united in the UN General Assembly, must press for a resolution of this most dangerous of conflicts.

    In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli government¿s building the Separation Wall in Palestinian territory was ¿contrary to international law¿. It is an obstacle to peace. The Wall must go.

    Immediately after President Bush¿s 2005 visit, the Israeli government imposed a siege of Gaza, blocking the import of medicines, food and fuel. The result? 40 per cent are unemployed, and 95 per cent of industrial operations are suspended. The Israeli government must lift the siege.

    The Israeli government has increased its illegal settlement building in the occupied West Bank, in breach of its promises at Annapolis and of its obligations under the US-backed peace plan. The Israeli government must stop its settlement building.

    Some Zionists are now pressing for a single undemocratic state which will intensify Israeli discrimination against Arabs living in Israel. Carter writes, ¿the potentially disastrous moves towards one state must be terminated.¿

    The UN must press all the parties to negotiate a peace settlement. This is what the peoples of the region want: in a 2008 poll, 64 per cent of Israelis said they wanted direct Israeli-Hamas talks.

    The UN must build on UN Resolution 242 of 1967, the Camp David accord of 1978, the Arab peace proposal of 2002 and the International Quartet¿s 2003 roadmap for peace. We must all press the Israeli government to end the occupation it began in 1967.

    The roadmap committed all its signatories (including Britain) to creating ¿an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its neighbours.¿ In Phase II, the Quartet promised, ¿the Palestinians will have the active support of the Quartet and the broader international community in establishing an independent, viable state.¿ And they pledged ¿Quartet members [to] promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.¿ We must keep them to their pledges.

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  • Posted April 21, 2011


    Great book for those looking to understand better the history behind the conflicts in the Holy Land. I definitely recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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