Newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should heed former President Jimmy Carter’s leadership in crafting a Middle East policy toward a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, she lashed out at the former president even before his new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid made it to the stores. Mrs. Pelosi stated, “Carter does not speak for the Democratic party on Israel “. Maybe he should because it was President Carter who negotiated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt at Camp David in 1979.
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve agreed with Nancy Pelosi on any issue, but her criticism on Jimmy Carter goes beyond poor judgment.
In 2001, Mrs. Pelosi told a pro-Israeli conference that the real issue surrounding the Palestinian/Israeli problem is not the occupation, but Israel ‘s right to exist. She added that the occupation argument is “nonsense”.
United Nation resolution 242 of 1967 called upon Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab land. Forty years later, Israel has not complied. For nearly 60 years, Palestinian refugees have neither been allowed to return to their homes nor receive compensation from Israel as stated by U.N. Resolution 164.
The truth is: occupation is evil and repugnant. It creates terror and resistance, be it in Iraq , Afghanistan , or Palestine . In 1776, America fought for its freedom and independence from a foreign government, so why condemn others when they aspire for the very same freedoms?
Both Prime Ministers of Israel and Iraq addressed a joint session of Congress last May and July, respectively. Mrs. Pelosi rounded up her troops to welcome the Israeli Prime Minister who came to thank the lawmakers for passing legislation against Iran and the Palestinians. By contrast Mrs. Pelosi threatened to boycott the Iraqi Prime Minister’s speech unless he retracted his remarks on Israel over its inhumane bombardment of Lebanon .
During the last mid-term election, Mrs. Pelosi stated repeatedly that the single most important accomplishment of the Twentieth Century is the formation of the state of Israel . Apparently the moon landing, the invention of the internet, nuclear energy, the Civil Rights Act, or the fall of communism was less important.
Since Mrs. Pelosi is so concerned about America ‘s tarnished image abroad, she should stop pandering to the powerful pro-Israeli lobby. Maybe then we can have a genuine and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. All she needs to do is to call the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Jimmy Carter, for help. The Jewish Voice for Peace group already did. Or, maybe Mrs. Pelosi shouldn’t speak for all Americans on Palestine.
MAHMOUD El-YOUSSEPH (TSGT / USAF [Ret.]) lives in Ohio.