Former President Jimmy Carter has just released a new book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan that Will Work...
For Israelis only, Carter reserves the word 'radicals' in his book. He also calls former prime minister Menachem Begin by the same abjective and then describes him as the "most notorious terrorist in the region." Of course, he said the British said that, not him. Carter goes on to describe Binyamin Netanyahu as a "key political associate and naysayer" who was strongly opposed to Israel relinquishing control over the Sinai.
It appears that Jimmy Carter is revising history. The Binyamin Netanyahu I know was attending college during the Camp David meetings in the late 1970s. In fact, when I recommended him to Begin for a government job, the prime minister did not even know who Netanyahu was. I have no idea how Carter was so aware of Binyamin Netanyahu's political ideology; he was selling furniture at the time to help fund his schooling.
The former president also writes that at the time, Begin agreed to divide Jerusalem. I found that to be astonishing, especially since Begin had given me a copy of the letter he penned to Jimmy Carter on September 17, 1978, in which he wrote, "Dear Mr. President, on the basis of this law, the government of Israel decreed in July 1967 that Jerusalem is one city indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel." According to Begin, Carter informed him that the US government did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Begin told me he responded, "Excuse me sir, but the State of Israel does not recognize your non-recognition."
Carter further charges that Begin agreed to a freeze on building Jewish settlements but Begin told me he had not agreed to a total freeze; he only agreed not to build new settlements for three months, during the negotiations.
Carter also gives the impression that he and Begin were close friends by saying that Begin and then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited him in Plains to reaffirm the personal commitments each had made to the other, which I found quite humorous.
Begin told me he had refused to meet with Carter when the president traveled to Jerusalem. At that time, he was no longer prime minister but was outraged that Carter had misrepresented the events during their meetings...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
From an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post: