Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter: Time to move on Mideast peace

By Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter

The Elders: Standing around Nelson Mandela are, from left, his wife, Graca Machel, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan, Gro Brundtland, Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt and Lakhdar Brahimi.

For nearly two decades, there have been peace processes in the Middle East but no peace. In recent visits to the region — including Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory — we have heard a consistent message: People want peace but are skeptical about the process and have little faith in the international community to deliver.

There is now an opportunity to reassess the entire approach to the negotiations. The U.S. effort to secure from Israel another partial freeze on settlement-building as a way of resuming direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders has failed.

We urge a renewed effort, firmly based in international law and respect for human rights that first aims to define boundaries between Israel and a new Palestinian state and address security issues. Without such focus, we will see the possibility of a two-state solution slipping even further away.

This approach sets challenges for Israelis and Palestinians, for their regional neighbors, for the international community — especially the U.S. government — and for each of us as concerned global citizens.

Applying international law and human rights principles means that the occupation must end, and the focus of negotiations should be on the boundaries of a future Palestinian state based on 1967 borders,with its capital in East Jerusalem. Such an accord could entail, if agreed, a one-to-one land swap to allow for minor adjustments. Initial negotiations should also aim at security arrangements in which both Israelis and Palestinians have confidence.

Change is needed

Israeli settlement activity must stop throughout the occupied territories, which include East Jerusalem. These settlements are illegal under international law. So, too, is the inhumane blockade of Gaza. It must be lifted fully except for armaments. The demolition and seizure of Palestinian homes must also end.

In ensuring the rights of all are respected, we call on leaders and citizens to ensure that Israel’s right to exist is not denied. Incitement and calls for the destruction of Israel must not be tolerated.

The upholding of human rights and the rule of law also places demands on the Palestinian authorities of the West Bank and Gaza. They must end all human rights violations against political critics and rivals.

Across the region, we believe that the Arab peace initiative should serve as the basis for normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world.

It is clear, of course, that Israelis and Palestinians must ultimately agree to a solution, but they cannot do it alone. The international community must help them through fair and robust mediation and by reconfirming prior agreements, United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all of which are being violated.

Nor can we, as citizens, leave such a vital issue to our governments. Each of us has to keep up pressure on our leaders to show the importance we attach to achieving peace in the Middle East.

As Elders— a group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela to promote peace— we will continue to do all we can to persuade governments around the world to apply a rights-based approach to this terrible conflict and to turn the focus of initial negotiations to border and security issues.

Waiting too long

We have already given our support to non-violent protest and creative civil action for peace. We will continue to do so, both morally and in person whenever we can. This is too important an issue to be left to politicians alone.

Without a strategy that can deliver a peace agreement based on a two-state solution, Palestinians will continue to live under Israeli occupation, millions of Palestinian refugees will continue to live without hope, and Israel’s survival and security remain under threat. If there is no real progress, more violence is the likely outcome.

The world has lived far too long with this conflict. The obstacles to peace are daunting. But one of the advantages of observing public events over many years is that we have seen how apparently irreconcilable divisions can be bridged with courage, commitment and humanity. We desperately need to see these qualities now.

Former president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu are members of The Elders (

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Posted in GeoPolitics, History, Israel, Middle East, Op/Ed, Palestinian Territories
3 comments on “Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter: Time to move on Mideast peace
  1. theyenguy says:

    In middle east peace news today, Adrian Bloomfield of The Telegraph reports in article EU To Boost Status Of Palestinian Diplomats: the Foreign Office has confirmed that it and other EU member states are studying a proposal that would see Palestinian “general delegations” upgraded to “diplomatic missions” in a number of European capitals. But a Foreign Office spokesman said the upgrade did not “imply recognition of a Palestinian state,” adding: “We continue to believe that the creation of a sovereign and viable Palestinian State alongside a secure Israel is best achieved through negotiations.”

    I comment that the sentence beginning with the word “but a” is doublespeak. Webster’s dictionary defines doublespeak with these words: evasive, ambiguous, high-flown language intended to deceive or confuse.

    I am a reformed christian and I believe that a capital in Jerusalem for the Palestinian People MAY come at some time in future; but such a thing will ONLY come through announcement by the Sovereign of Daniel 9:27, who is also the same Sovereign of Revelation 13:5-10.

  2. Israel, AIPAC, J-Street, Mossad, and American foreign Policies:


    See books by Ronald L. Waldron at 1. FINAL REPORT 2. DECEPTION 3. WHAT-IF?? 4. WATCH OUT 5. THE HOUSE OF TREASON.
    6. TRUTH COUNTS–Don’t count on getting it.
    These books have been blocked, taken off web sites. Advertising diverted. Every attempt made at making sure they are not circulated.

    Please assist if possible.

    My server has blocked my e-mail on several occasions. Flagged it from being sent. etc. etc.

    I will be sending copies of the last few I have attempted to circulate etc. I believe you will agree with 90% of the material.

    I also have posted 600 to 700 postings on over the last 7 to 8 years. also see

    Thank you for your courtesy;

    Ronald L. Waldron

  3. Just a matter of time.

    Occupiers of Washington, DC
    It’s just a matter of time before U.S. tires of Israel & the atrocities they commit.
    Americans are sick & tired of the acts of war by Israel that are covered up by their crime partners (Occupiers of Washington, DC).
    Republican Leaders Are Afraid of Rush Limbaugh. He is the prime example of the Republican parties base and is the most listened to party leader. Regardless of how radical his views are, his messages are carried right up to the pulpits of the Right Wingers.
    Will they send our sons & daughters into another false flag war to die for Israel’s benefit. Another preemptive WAR will further distroy America as we have known it.
    Israel has been the victimizer not the victim for the last 64 years.
    Organized Crime, and organized religion has become one in the same in that time line.
    Get rid of the duel citizenship people in government or agencies paid by tax payers.
    We need an audit of the Fed. and religious institutions. Intent of tax payers, and congregations giving money and what it is used for.
    Posted by: Ron Wal

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