Former US president Jimmy Carter said that the two-state solution has “zero chance” of being realized today, and blamed this on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a wide-ranging interview with Prospect Magazine Thursday.
Carter accused Netanyahu of adopting a “one-state solution,” and lamented that the “US had withdrawn” from making further efforts. He further accused the Jewish state of denying Palestinians equal rights, but stopped short of labeling Israel an apartheid state, a term he utilized in his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
“These are the worst prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for years. At this moment, there is zero chance of the two-state solution,” Carter said.
Carter, who served as US president from 1977 to 1981, said he believes that Netanyahu has no intention of pursuing peace, and lamented that “They [Palestinians] will never get equal rights [to Israeli Jews, in a one-state solution].”
Netanyahu “does not now and has never sincerely believed in a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine,” Carter added. He noted that when he visited Israel and the West Bank in April, he did not bother to contact Netanyahu for a meeting, on the grounds that “it would be a waste of time to ask” — expecting that the request would be rebuffed as were previous ones.
The former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner gave the interview ahead of the launch of his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at 90, and shortly after he announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer. He will turn 91 in October.
Responding to a question on the use of the term apartheid in relation to Israel, Carter said that he is “reluctant to use that word in a news article” but asserted that the argument has legitimacy because of demographic changes in Israel and the West Bank.
Either “Palestinians will have a majority in government, or you deprive them of equal rights,” he noted, suggesting that the Jewish state would not accept a Palestinian political majority.
He also praised the Iranian nuclear accord as “superb,” and said he was confident that Congressional Democrats would support the bill, adding that he hoped that the US’s “relations with Iran can improve.”
Carter served as commander in chief during the 444-day hostage crisis in the US embassy of Tehran, ahead of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. The 52 American embassy officials held by Iran were released hours after Carter left office, following his major defeat to Ronald Reagan at the polls.
Adding that he remained unfazed by the prospect of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, Carter pointed to Israel’s reported nuclear weapons program. He said that Israel had “at least 150 to 200” nuclear weapons, repeating “at least.”
Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity, never confirming or denying having nuclear weapons. Officials only say Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the region.