Boston Metro (owned by NY Times) published an interview with Mitchel Bard on Carter's book. Here is an interview with me they published 12/13/06 (it is not quite reflective of what I said but is close)
Palestinian scholar defends Carterís book
by JASON NOTTE email@example.com
Former president Jimmy Carterís book ďPalestine: Peace, Not ApartheidĒ is available now. For more on Mazin Qumsiyeh and his book, visit his Web site at http://qumsiyeh.org.
Your turn: What do you think of Carterís book? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For critics of former president Jimmy Carterís book ďPalestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,Ē the former president went too far in comparing the Palestinian territories to segregated South Africa. In Dr. Mazin Qumsiyehís eyes, however, Carterís book didnít go far enough. A former Duke and Yale University genetics professor, Qumsiyeh has written a book, ďSharing The Land of Canaan,Ē and now serves on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation and on the board of the Association for One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.
Qumsiyeh firmly believes that the apartheid comparison is apt, and that the only real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one similar to that reached in post-apartheid South Africa. Metro spoke with Qumsiyeh about Carterís book, the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations and the prospect of both peoples sharing the same nation.
What did you think of President Carterís book?
I would say it does a good job of provoking discussion about the territories, but doesnít go far enough. It is fairly mild and limited to only the West Bank and Gaza. They donít talk about Palestinians living in Negev and Galilee who are being displaced. I would have phrased it differently and gone into greater detail about the situation along sic, I said inside the Green Line.
We had a scholar, Mitchell Bard, say last week that the comparison to apartheid is incorrect because the territories do not fall under Israeli rule. Do you agree?
I donít believe they donít control those areas. There is no sovereign Palestinian country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river. The Palestinian Authority is basically people in a prison voting for representatives. Part of the West Bank is under Israeli control and, if you check with the United Nations, even though Israeli troops have pulled out of Gaza, the Gaza Strip is still considered an occupied territory. They control movement in and out of the territories, they control the entrance and exit of products and they control the skies. If you look up the definition of apartheid as dictated by the International Convention on Apartheid and Racism, all the criteria are met by the restrictions put on the territories by the state of Israel.
Carter says that the IsraeliPalestinian situation distinguishes itself from South Africa in that the two sides are separated because of security concerns. Would that differentiate it from apartheid?
The sides are still segregated. If it is about security, why are they building a wall separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank? If it was about security, why isnít it built solely on the Green Line instead of around bodies of water and rivers? If you look at apartheid South Africa, the land where blacks were living was the poorest in the country. A similar thing is going on here. Itís not about security, itís about land. Bishop Desmond Tutu says itís worse than apartheid. At least white South Africans used blacks for labor. Zionists donít want anything to do with Palestinian workers.
Given all of the bloodshed over the ideals and flags of both sides of this conflict, do you really think a unified Israeli-Palestinian state is possible?
If we look at history, we see that France and England had a hatred so deep that they fought many wars including a nearly 120-year conflict. Many, including myself, predicted South Africa would be a bloodbath after apartheid, but human rights are the biggest thing. If you look at the Baker-Hamilton Groupís report, the four words that were missing were ďhuman rights,Ē and ďinternational law.Ē Other side of ĎApartheidí interview Lebanon PM seeks negotiations Prime Minister Fuad Saniora appealed yesterday to his opponents engaged in mass protests to return to the negotiating table. AP U.N. wants $450M in Palestinian aid U.N. aid groups are asking for $450 million, saying yesterday that international sanctions and Israelís limits on Gaza exports have devastated the Palestinian economy.
What is the first step toward making a united Israel and Palestine possible?
The biggest problem is that there isnít an open discussion. We need to have an honest conversation about it, like there is in the Israeli and Palestinian papers, but the Zionists here stifle the discussion. Itís important to have someone like Carter, who gets an audience because heís a former president, but people still try to stifle him ó and there are many other authors who have written books on the topic that have been far more rigorous and academic.