Carter’s Delusions About Arafat

In 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter was ridiculed across the United States when he claimed that while on a fishing trip he was attacked by a vicious animal, “hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing, and nostrils flared.” Carter reported that he was able to defend himself with a canoe paddle. The animal was… a rabbit, soon dubbed by the press as the “Killer Rabbit.”

Now in a USA Today op-ed, “Mideast Needs New Mediator” (July 1), Carter looks at a different hissing menace — Yasser Arafat, about whom the late King Hussein of Jordan reportedly said, “Arafat never came to a bridge he didn’t double-cross.”

Carter’s conclusion: Arafat is the “legitimate” leader of the Palestinians, “apt to be re-elected in January.”

Carter presents the PA as a bastion of democracy:

“Palestinians conducted a peaceful, transparent election in 1996, which my center monitored, and chose a president and Palestinian Authority members who were universally accepted as legitimate… further progress is undermined by our almost undeviating approval of Israel’s demands and our refusal to deal with the Palestinian leaders who are apt to be re-elected in January.”

Carter presents Arafat as a prince of peace:

“In 1993, the Norwegians proved in Oslo that Rabin could deal directly with Yasser Arafat as the Palestinians’ leader. On both sides, this was an unprecedented recognition of the other’s legitimacy.”

But Arafat never recognized Israel’s legitimacy. His television, radio, schools and religious institutions repeat a relentless anti-Israel war chant. His Arabic-language speeches are calls to jihad. Analysts suggest that Arafat has never properly repealed the Palestinian Covenant calling for Israel’s destruction.

Carter reviewed the history of Arab-Israeli negotiations in his column, but curiously ignored the Camp David talks in July 2000 where Arafat refused to negotiate over Israel’s unprecedented concessions. Carter attacks the “hundreds” of Israeli settlements (Peace Now claims fewer than 150) that leads to the “remaining unoccupied Palestinian lands appear[ing] as small, isolated red splotches.”

Splotches? U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross has repeatedly stated that the Israeli offers would have granted the Palestinians contiguous control of West Bank land.

Carter concludes that the U.S. can no longer play an even-handed negotiating role because it is “aligned today with Israel and making demands that Palestinians will not accept.” Incredibly, Carter suggests that “other world leaders — perhaps in the Arab world, Europe or the United Nations” should get involved in negotiations. Does Carter expect a fair deal out of a historically anti-Israel coalition?

Read Carter’s column at:

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