Monday, September 7, 2009

The Reasonable President Carter

As a recent wire service dispatch on the Al Jazeera English Web site makes clear, former President Jimmy Carter has been an advocate for a two-state solution to settle the disagreements between Israelis and Palestinians. On the other hand Carter has long been a man with enough courage to give more priority to a solution that is likely to work than to personal preferences. Thus, in an opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post, he has decided to open his mind to the viability of a one-state solution, a possibility that seems to have progressed only in the fictional world of You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Carter, however, has invoked far more sober language than Adam Sandler. The sobriety of his tone allows us to consider his argument with a positive sense of hope:

By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbours and then demand equal rights within a democracy.

In this nonviolent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Junior and Nelson Mandela.

I am sure that Carter's proposal will provoke any number of reasons why it cannot work. I just hope that those challenges are confronted with some well-considered rebuttals to support the viability of his argument.

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