by James M. Wall
William James Martin’s essay in CounterPunch provides the most encouraging perspective I have seen on the importance of Jimmy Carter’s latest trip to the Middle East. Martin’s post (May 2) is a stern reminder that presidential elections have long-range consequences. He writes:
“A radical change in American Middle East policy occurred in 1981 when Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter as president. A Middle East policy which checked Israel’s expansions in Lebanon and colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem was replaced by a passive policy and by a president with no knowledge of or interest in the Middle East.”
Martin’s analysis of Jimmy Carter’s trip to the Middle East begins:
“Former President Jimmy Carter’s independent Middle East diplomacy is nothing less than a coup of the American foreign policy of the Bush administration.
He has now met twice with the representatives of Hamas including its head, Khalid Meshaal and has had one-on-one meetings with the heads of state of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and with King Abdullah of Jordan. The Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert has refused to meet with him.
Carter has called the Israeli/American policy of starvation a “crime”, he has observed that 30 to 40 Palestinians have been killed for every Israeli killed, as fact never spoken by an American politician or statesman, and rarely by any of the US news media. He said, “any side that kills innocent people is guilty of terrorism.’ That means that Israel is as guilty of terrorism as the Palestinians, and by implication, 30 to 40 times more guilty, a very radical notion for an American statesman, and completely unprecedented, but certainly true of the past month during which time, 120 Palestinians residents of Gaza were killed by the Israeli army within the space of two days.
Carter said, the Palestinians in Gaza were being ‘starved to death, receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa.’
‘Its an atrocity what is being perpetuated as punishment on the people of Gaza. It’s a crime … I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on.'”
The entire essay is essential reading. If you have friends and families in Indiana and North Carolina, send them this link.