On the verge of President Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel, and as world leaders scramble to discuss the steadily deteriorating situation in Syria, with Egypt’s new government on the verge of falling apart or becoming more authoritarian than the last one, and the Arab spring heating up to be a burning summer, input is being heard from across the spectrum of world public figures.  . 

Silent, until now, was Jimmy Carter, former one term president, who has spoken out actively and increasingly against Israel.  Placing blame on Israel for the ills of Palestinians, and for lack of peace has been Carter’s hallmark. 

 

Following is the text of an interview Jimmy Carter could have given to the Arab news network, Al Jazeera.

 

Al Jazeera

President Carter, what do you think about the recent developments in Gaza and the inability of Palestinians to form a unity government?

 

Jimmy Carter

Thank you Al.  Hamas is the democratically elected sole representative of the Palestinian people.  I was an observer to these elections and aside from Israeli actions that blocked peaceful Palestinians from exercising their God given right to free elections, the elections were fair and Hamas won on a platform that is devoted to God and religion.  Praised be Allah.  I monitor all polls in the West Bank and Gaza and know that the Palestinians support Hamas and their Prime Minister, my good friend, Ismail Haniyah.

 

AJ

President Carter, what do you propose be done to build a lasting peace between Hamas and the Zionist entity?  

 

JC

Well Al, that’s a good question.  First, Israel needs to remove all settlements and roadblocks from within the Palestinian territories it occupied since 1967 and allow the peace loving Palestinian people to have freedom to live, move about and work unimpeded by Israeli aggression, collective punishment, walls and colonialization.

 

Personally, through the Carter Center, I have announced a world tour to promote my new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” and I have announced that all proceeds from the sale of his book will go to fund “security” projects for the Palestinian people. 

 

I intend to lead a boat caravan, to complete this world tour, and will arrive in Gaza sometime around the anniversary of the Nakba to show my solidarity with the Palestinian people, and further, I pledge to bring $1 billion in cash with me to support the peace loving Palestinian people of Gaza.

 

AJ

These are very bold moves Mr. President.  What would you say to the Palestinian people who are watching you live on television today in Gaza?

 

JC

First, Al, I would urge the Israelis not to prevent Palestinians from their right to watch television and listen to radio.  UN Resolution 242 expressly prohibits this.  Subsequent resolutions have also reiterated that point.  Further, I urge the Palestinians to put aside their differences and behave like good Christians.

 

AJ

Mr. President, you mentioned television.  What do you think of Palestinian television? 

 

JC (smiling)

Al, sometimes Roslyn and I stay up extra late to watch the morning children’s programming in Hamas TV over the internet.  We especially like the Hamas Mouse.  He’s a cute little guy, very much warm and cuddly, like all the Palestinian people.  He’s loving and fun.  Personally reminds me of my dear brother Billy who was also loved throughout the Arab world.  Yes, Hamas TV is the standard for quality children’s’ programming.  I have suggested to friends at PBS that they consider licensing these programs for our American kids. 

 

AJ

What do you say, Mr. President, to those who criticize Hamas for using an infringement on the image of Disney’s “Mickey Mouse” to preach hate and violence against Israel and Jews?

 

JC (harshly)

No, he didn’t. No, he did not do that. I did not hear that. I did not hear Hamas Mouse say that.  Anyway, I am sure that neither Hamas Mouse and others will have no reason for preaching violence and supporting “armed resistance” as soon as Israel withdraws all its settlers and troops.

 

AJ

It seems that world leaders have been quick to blame Hamas for taking full responsibility for peace and security and restoring law and order in Gaza by being harsh and critical of Prime Minister Haniyah and his security forces as well as all other Hamas party members.  What do you say to that Mr. President?

 

JC

Al, I have personally reached out to world leaders to attend a conference entitled:  “Nakba 65: Restoring the Peace and Ending the Occupation” to be held in Damascus.  You know, since I left office, not one US president, I am sorry to say, has done anything about making peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  So far, former Cuban President and patriot Fidel Castro will donate cigars, all the cigars we can smoke at the conference.  He said to me personally that nothing can make friends like two people sharing a Cohiba torpedo #4.   

 

In addition, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will offer free oil to Hamas and establish a pipeline between Venezuela and Gaza.  Hamas engineers have already begun digging a new tunnel in which to lay the pipeline.  President Chavez will co-chair the conference along with me and President Assad of Syria.  North Korea will send “advisors” to help Hamas develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to make Gaza self sufficient.  Israeli leader Yossi Beilin plans to attend the conference, as well as well known Israeli broadcaster, Abie Nathan. To show bi-partisan, Chuck Hagel will also be there.

 

I am also pleased to tell you that the conference is being underwritten by a generous grant from our good friends at the Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan Foundation.

 

AJ

President Carter, let me digress for a moment from the topic at hand.  You speak of nuclear energy.  What do you think about the Iranian development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes?

 

JC

This is a very personal issue for me Al.  You’ll remember that in my days as president, we had our conflicts with the Iranians.  But that was a long time ago. I am sure they really didn’t mean anything by holding our hostages for 444 days.  I think that Argo is just a Hollywood fabrication. It is the Christian thing to turn the other cheek and I have done so.  I fully support the Iranian desire to develop alternative energy sources and to begin to wean themselves from dangerous fossil fuels.  It is an especially notable move in that they sit on one of the largest reserves of oil and are turning the other cheek too.

 

I hope that Israel will not even consider such an act of terrorism as it did in bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.  This really hurt our ally Sadaam Hussein at the time.  Menachem Begin really showed his true colors.  Had he just sat back patiently, I’d have taken care of everything. 

 

AJ

What do you say about the criticism from among the trustees of the Carter Center, and scholars at Emory University which have been critical of your recent efforts and have resigned from their positions?

JC

Free speech, Al.  Free speech.  Menachem Begin tried to prevent the Palestinians from speaking at all, or from being heard.  In fact, he even said that there were no Palestinian people.  I heard him. 

 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion Al, but it is worth noting that the only people to resign were Jewish Americans.  Now I have many friends who are Jewish.  I prayed together with a minyan of Jewish rabbis in Arizona. Or Florida. I forget.  But when the Jewish lobby starts up with its’ one sided rhetoric like it has, well they really need to be reined in.  After all, there’s free speech and then there’s free speech.  And if you’re against the truth like many I have heard are, well then it’s just lies.  Much of what the Jewish lobby has said recently is not based on unvarnished analyses; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented stuff.  

 

AJ

President Carter, do you have any observations on, or thoughts for repairing the Palestinian economy?

 

JC

Yes.  It is a travesty.  A war crime.  An economic Holocaust.  I have seen the world and I have never seen a problem like the one facing the Palestinians.  I put the blame squarely on Israel for lack of jobs, lack of employment of Palestinians in Israeli settlements and hot houses, and the building of the apartheid wall that has forced the Arabs to build tunnels to have trade with the outside world.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of use of these tunnels for the import of drugs and prostitutes who are sold into slavery, but the Palestinians’ behavior must be excused given the pressures they are under on a daily basis.

 

AJ

What do you say to all the Israelis who are listening tonight from Tel Aviv?

 

JC

Well, first the Israelis have to understand that they are required by all UN resolutions to withdraw from all the territories they occupied by their pre-emptive attack on the Arabs in 1967.  They must withdraw to the internationally recognized borders of June 4, 1967.  Then, in sh’allah, the Arabs will calm down and stop the need to remove Israel from their lands by force.  

 

Al, you know, Menachem Begin even wrote about his plan to take over land on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, what he called eretz yisroel.  I read it.  The Israelis never voted Menachem Begin out of office in spite of his intransigence.

 

This is one of the worst examples of human rights abuse I know.

 

AJ

Mr. President, is it true that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah personally called you this week and asked you to be the honorary Palestinian Ambassador to the US and the UN?

 

JC (beaming)

Well Al, I prefer to keep my conversations with Prime Minister Haniyah private, and I can neither confirm nor deny that we spoke this week.  But if we HAD spoken, well Al, you and your viewers know that Ishmael was a son of Abraham.  I wrote about this in my book, “The Blood of Abraham.”  We are all children of Abraham.  So if I HAD spoken to my good friend Ismail, I can tell you it would be like speaking to a brother and I’d have been deeply honored by his request, IF I had spoken to him of course.

 

AJ

In 1979 you alone helped broker peace between Israel and Egypt.  Today, the situation is much different.  What do you say about this?

 

JC

Egypt is the most important Arab country and, frankly, it’s good to see that their new government brought a little bit of God into their holy work.  The peace treaty with Israel has lasted and endured all these years, but sometimes, even the best things have to end.  I am not sure I see Israel ready to approach living in peace with the new government.  Israelis keep wanting things from Egypt: gas, passage in the Suez Canal, ending human trafficking and weapons smuggling from Sinai…. You have to look at it from an Egyptian perspective, what do they get from this peace treaty? For now, all I can say is praise Allah for the new democratically elected Egyptian government.

 

AJ

President Carter, let me turn to the suffering of the Syrian people and the two year old violence going on there. What are your thoughts?

 

JC

Well Al, I have spend many a night in Damascus and like to think that when you break pita with a man like Hafez Assad and dip it into his humus, you really get to know a person.  Fantastic humus by the way. So I think that the Assads are misunderstood and maligned by Zionist elements who lay claim to the Golan Heights that Israel occupied in their war of aggression.  Personally, I think the foreign elements in Syria should go home and we go back to the good old days of letting the Assads govern as the democratically elected leaders. I have met the current President, Bashar.  I knew his brother better, the one his father had tapped to succeed him.  But Bashar is good.  He’s an ophthalmologist by training. He has vision. Peace be upon him.

 

AJ

Mr. President, in your own country there continues to be great upheaval about the misunderstanding that took place in Libya last September.  There was that horrible movie about the Prophet, and people really lost their self control.   What can you share to enlighten us about that.

 

JC

Well, as you know, President Kaddafi and I had our differences but he was very close to my brother, Billy.  I once had to call him and tell him we are going to blow up their big pharmaceutical factory if they didn’t give in to American imperialism and what not.  Kaddafi, not Billy.  But he was a good fellow.  He also turned the other cheek like a good Christian.  I am sorry to see him gone.   At least now he and Billy can sit around and have a few beers together in Heaven.

 

I never met Ben Gazi there but from what I heard, I don’t very much like the things that are coming out about him. I think that Ben may be the one who started the Libyan Facebook page that tweeted about the Prophet and started all this mess.  After all, I know a few things about US embassies being attacked. 

 

But Ben Gazi sounds a whole lot like Ben Zygier, the mossad spy who was killed in prison.  You know Al, I am an engineer by training.  I am trained to connect the dots.  Ben Gazi and Ben Zygier, it’s probably all a Zionist Mossad plot to rule the world.

 

Wait, are we still recording?  Maybe you should cut that.  My thirteen Jewish friends might not like that idea. Even though it doesn’t take a two term president to connect these dots.

 

AJ

President Carter, can you give us some insight about what President Obama might be coming to do in Israel and Palestine in a few weeks?

 

JC
Well, Al, most people don’t know this but I speak with Barack at least once a week.  Our presidencies are very similar.  When we spoke last, I suggested that he bring a $3 billion economic package to the Palestinians, including military hardware.  The problem is that the Israelis don’t take them seriously so they need to stand up for themselves.  They want peace, love peace and pray for peace, that’s how I told my dear friend Yasser Arafat to explain himself.  But if the Israelis won’t give them peace, they need to be able to defend themselves, proactively. 

 

I hope that President Obama will tell the Israelis very clearly that it is only up to them, to end all settlement construction and bring the settlers home to Tel Aviv, or even Poland as acclaimed journalist Helen Thomas suggested.   

 

AJ

Thank you President Carter.

 

JC

Thank you Al.  And let me say saalam to all the viewers.  Saalam. And to the Israeli and jewish viewers, shalom, peace and lighten up. A freilechen Purim to all my Jewish friends.

 

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