In This Review

Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
By Jimmy Carter
Simon & Schuster, 2006, 288 pp.

Soon after taking office in 1977, Jimmy Carter declared that the Palestinians must have a "homeland." Later in his presidency, Carter led the tortuous negotiations culminating in Israel's first treaty with an Arab neighbor: the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli treaty, which, it should be remembered, contained provisions intended to move matters toward a viable Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Out of office soon thereafter, Carter continued to follow closely the many ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, keeping in touch with the American, Arab, and Israeli principals involved. In recent years, he has put himself very much in situ by leading the monitoring of Palestinian elections. This book offers a historical overview in the form of a personal memoir, tracing developments since the 1970s as Carter experienced and understood them. He may thus be said to be both a source for the historian and himself a historian of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. This little book merits a reading on both counts. Carter concludes that "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land." That statement, so out of line with the way mainstream American political figures (even those retired from public office) frame the issue, ensures that the book will be attacked by many. Perhaps it will be read as well.