In an article in Monday’s New York Times, the ex-president called on the Obama administration to recognize a Palestinian state and ensure that it be accorded full member status in the United Nations. Elliott Abrams responds:
[G]ranting diplomatic recognition to “the state of Palestine” will no more make it a legitimate and genuine country than granting diplomatic recognition to Plains, Georgia, would make it one. The fact, [acknowledged by Carter], that 137 countries have done so—to no effect whatsoever—ought to make that obvious. So, what is Carter’s real goal here? He writes that it is peace, but the steps he proposes and the analysis he offers would leave Israel and the Palestinians farther from peace than ever.
The “facts” Carter adduces are not only wrong, but tricky and misleading. For example, he writes that there are “600,000 Israeli settlers.” That number can be reached only by counting every Israeli living in Jerusalem—including in the Jewish Quarter, and the parts barred to Jews by Jordan before 1967—as settlers. He writes that “Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians, and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands,” but he offers no data—because there are none to support his claim. . . .
What is really needed to move toward peace is security—an end to terrorism. That is a subject entirely absent from Carter’s op-ed. Mr. Carter writes that “the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation.” By whom? He holds the Palestinians responsible for nothing and accountable for nothing. George W. Bush used to refer to “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and the phrase surely applies here. Mr. Carter infantilizes the Palestinians, but then says they must immediately have a state. The logic will escape most readers.