Carter Warns: US and Israel on Collision Course


carterIsrael is headed for a clash with main ally the United States over the issue of Jewish settlements, former US president Jimmy Carter said in an interview today.  Asked whether the Jewish state was looking at a “head-on collision” with the United States if it doesn’t comply with Washington’s demands, Carter said “Yes.” The former president, who brokered the historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, said Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank were the biggest hurdle in the hobbled Middle East peace process, saying they were “illegal and (an) obstacle to peace.”The administration of President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, which is viewed as one of the key obstacles in the stalled Middle East peace process.

Carter today made a rare visit to a settlement, saying he went to Neve Daniel “to make sure they (the settlers) understand my own attitude towards Israel, the Jewish population across the world and the Jewish settlements.”

He was speaking at the start of a meeting with Shaul Goldstein, the head of the regional council of Gush Etzion, a large settlement bloc south of Yerushalayim that Israel hopes to keep in any future peace deal.

Goldstein briefed the 85-year-old former president on joint Israeli-Palestinian projects in the region and on the history of the Jewish community in the Gush Etzion before the creation of the Jewish state in 1948.

“This is our homeland but we recognise that there are other people living next to us,” Goldstein told Carter. “We believe in human rights and we suffer when they (Palestinians) suffer.”

Obama’s efforts to push forward the peace process has raised fears in Israel that Washington may ease its support of the Jewish state as it tries to improve relations with the Muslim world.

Carter is also due to visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Tuesday as part of a regional visit.

{AFP/Yair Israel}


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