US president Jimmy Carter says US has 'zero' influence on peace
Former US president Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson former United Nations High Commissioner and former prime minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland during the second day of a visit by "The Elders".
Former US president Jimmy Carter (C), f Mary Robinson, former United Nations High Commissioner (R) and former prime minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland (L) during the second day of a visit by "The Elders", a group of global leaders focused on human rights.speaks to the media . The Elders are visiting the region and holding meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.During a press conference at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.
The Elders have concluded a two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank by saying that the two-state solution is in deep peril and may soon be out of reach. They urge a fresh, concerted approach to explore all alternatives to the current stalemate in negotiations, stressing that a two-state solution is the only realistic path to lasting peace in the Middle East.
During their visit the Elders met the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, international officials and a range of Israeli and Palestinian groups. They will continue their discussions on this issue in Cairo in the coming days.
Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States and Elders’ delegation leader, said:
“We are heading towards a one-state outcome, which will fail to ensure the security and democratic rights of the people of Israel and renege on the promise of self-determination for Palestinians. The two-state solution is vanishing. We urgently need a fresh approach by all parties if a Palestinian state is to be achieved.
“The Elders share the view that the two-state solution is the only realistic path to peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians. But changes on the ground, including the construction of settlements beyond the Green Line and the growing isolation of East Jerusalem from the West Bank, make a Palestinian state unviable.”
The Elders toured Jerusalem to view the changing urban landscape and demography of the city, a result of policies designed to expand and deepen the Israeli presence and restrict the Palestinian presence.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, said:
“It has been very sad to hear of the considerable problems that long-standing Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem face in their everyday lives – from having to reapply every year for the right to stay, to businesspeople waiting years for licenses, to those who have lost their homes to settlers or demolition. The effect of this system is to create great suffering, and erode the diverse character of this city, which is so important for people of all faiths and traditions from all around the world.
“As a medical doctor, I was particularly affected by our visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian model of excellence for the entire region which faces enormous difficulties in treating those people nearest to it from the West Bank – never mind Palestinians from Gaza – due to Israeli travel restrictions. It tragically illustrates the direct human impact of the present deadlock.”
The Elders expressed their concern about the ongoing divisions between the leading Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, again evident in Hamas’ boycott of the municipal elections in the West Bank on Saturday (20 October). Unity is urgently needed so that the vital interests of the Palestinian people are properly represented and to bridge the widening gulf between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:
“The aspirations of Palestinians are being crushed, not only by the complete failure of negotiations with Israel but by a lack of unified political leadership. They deserve much better. Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas remains an essential ingredient in Palestinian self-determination. The leaders have to be more attuned to the demands of the people, especially given the broader changes sweeping the region.”