My review of Jimmy Carter’s new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land,” is now up at the New York Times Book Review:
“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste,” the new White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has said, exuberantly defining the economic meltdown as an opportunity for grand new domestic policies. The war in Gaza raises the question of whether Emanuel’s boss will apply the same approach overseas. Will President Obama regard the latest Israeli-Palestinian bleeding as a symptom of an untreatable chronic disease, or as an acute crisis that proves the need for a dramatic American diplomatic initiative?
Jimmy Carter’s advice on answering that question is clear from his title, even if he dashed this book off before the most recent war. In fact, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land” is really a short op-ed article disguised as a book. The argument, which might easily have been put in 900 words, is that Obama should follow Carter’s own example, defy political calculations and throw himself into Arab-Israeli peacemaking.
The goal, Carter says, should be reaching a two-state solution, with the borders between Israel and the Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 armistice lines, along with minor territorial exchanges. Obama should get to work at the start of his term, put his own peace proposals on the table and persuade both parties to accept them. Carter implies that Obama must separate support for Israel from support for Israel’s policies. In short, he should do what Carter says he did to bring peace between Israel and Egypt.
Read the rest here, and come back to South Jerusalem to comment.