Factual errors about borders and international agreements
On Nov. 27, 2006, Jimmy Carter appeared on Larry King Live to discuss his book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. During the interview, Carter repeated an assertion that he has made in various venues: "Everything in the book, I might say, is completely accurate."
In line with this defense, the former president repeatedly has argued that his critics, who supposedly have no grounds to criticize the factual accuracy of the book, have resorted to name-calling and ad hominem attacks.
He told Wolf Blitzer that "Most of the criticisms of the book have been the one word in the title, apartheid, and the other one
To an audience at a University of Georgia conference, he said:
"I have been called a liar. I've been called an anti-Semite. I've been called a bigot. I've been called a plagiarist. I've been called a coward. Those accusations, they concern me, but they don't detract from the fact that the book is accurate, and that it's needed."
In the Boston Globe, he asserted:
Not surprisingly, an examination of the book reviews and published comments reveals that these points have rarely if ever been mentioned by detractors of the book, much less denied or refuted. Instead, there has been a pattern of ad hominem statements, alleging that I am a liar, plagiarist, anti-Semite, racist, bigot, ignorant, etc. There are frequent denunciations of fabricated "straw man" accusations: that I have claimed that apartheid exists within Israel; that the system of apartheid in Palestine is based on racism; and that Jews control and manipulate the news media of America.
The truth is, much of the criticism of the book has pointed to the misrepresentations of fact in the book, and a number of specific errors have been cited.
CAMERA ran full page ads in the New York Times and New York Sun specifically itemizing factual errors and refuting them (and calling on Carter's publisher, Simon and Schuster, to correct the false claims). But because of space limitations and the sheer number of errors in Carter's book, those ads could only highlight and correct a fraction of Carter's falsehoods.
Here, we have compiled a more detailed and inclusive list of factual errors from Carter's book (page numbers are in italics) and media appearances. The list will be updated as we come across any further errors of fact made by the former president.
PBS NewsHour, Nov. 28, 2006:
The demand is for them to give back all the land. The United Nations resolutions that apply, the agreements that have been made at Camp David under me and later at Oslo for which the Israeli leaders received the Nobel Peace Prizes, was
based on Israel's withdrawal from occupied territories.
One of the documents mentioned U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement require Israel to return to the vulnerable pre-1967 armistice lines.
Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from territory in exchange for peace, but does not specify the extent of that withdrawal. The drafters of 242 have repeatedly explained why it is worded in that way. For example, Lord Caradon, the chief architect of the resolution, explained: "We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and its a rotten line. ... Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong."
The Camp David Accords, which were signed by Carter himself, similarly do not define Israels borders: "The negotiations
The Oslo Agreements, too, deferred "borders" as "one of the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations" (Article XVII, 1, a).
Page 57: The 1949 armistice demarcation lines became the borders of the new nation of Israel and were accepted by Israel and the United States, and recognized officially by the United Nations.
The 1949 armistice lines separating the West Bank from Israel never became permanent borders recognized by Israel, the United States or the U.N. Security Council. On the contrary, the Jordanian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement of April 3, 1949 specifically notes that the lines are not borders: "The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto."
Page 71: Israel has relinquished its control over ... almost all of Lebanon ...
Page 98: Israels decision in May 2000 to withdraw almost completely from Lebanon after eighteen years of occupation, retaining its presence only in Shebaa Farms.
On June 16, 2000, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan reported to the Security Council that "Israeli forces have withdrawn from Lebanon in compliance with resolution 425" and "in compliance with the line of withdrawal identified by the United Nations."
(Security Council Resolution 425 called on Israel to "withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese territory." The line identified by the United Nations "conform
Two days later, the Security Council endorsed the Secretary Generals conclusion.
Page 190: The governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert have built the fence and wall entirely within Palestinian territory, intruding deeply into the West Bank to encompass Israeli settlement blocs and large areas of other Palestinian land.
CNBC, The Tim Russert Show, Dec. 2, 2006:
And this wall, unlike the Berlin Wall, which was built on East German territory, none of this wall is built on Israeli territory. It's all built inside the West Bank .... And in no place along that wall does it separate Palestinians from Israelis to protect Israelis. Everywhere the wall separates Palestinians from other Palestinians.
... this wall is not built between Palestinian land and Israeli land. No place does the wall touch Israel. The wall is entirely inside Palestine. And the wall is designed as its presently planned and being built completely inside Palestine not to protect Israelis but to take Palestinian land, and all you have to do is look at a map ... it shows the route of the wall.
United Nations maps and numbers confirm that the barrier adheres to the "green line" the armistice line marking the boundaries of the West Bank along about 140 km (45 percent) of the green lines path. Those areas where the barrier deviates east of the line are, according to 242, disputed areas yet to be negotiated. Moreover, in some places the barrier also veers into Israeli territory. (For example, near Tulkarm and Al Mughayyir Al Mutilla.)
And, contrary to his claim on the Tim Russert Show, the fence separates "Palestinians from Israelis" along the entire route.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs notes that "Because of its meandering path into the West Bank, the
Page 51-52: "...important provisions of our <1978/79> agreement have not been honored since I left office. The Israelis have never granted any appreciable autonomy to the Palestinians ..."
Obviously, after 1993 the Palestinians gained "appreciable autonomy." The Oslo process created the Palestinian Authority and gave Palestinians control of political, civic, security, medical, educational and media institutions. Israel ceded 40 percent of the West Bank and eventually the entire Gaza Strip. About 98 percent of the Palestinian population lived in the areas of Palestinian self-rule.
Any subsequent Israeli military incursions into these areas have been in response to their use by Palestinians as bases for terrorism.
Moreover, Carter omits that Palestinian autonomy as envisioned in the agreements was bitterly opposed by the very PLO he defends. Yasir Arafat and his lieutenants publicly denounced autonomy efforts and Palestinians who supported them were killed. The New York Times reported on one such story on Dec. 21, 1977, recounting the murder of a Christian Arab who rejected the PLO's extremism in favor of reconciliation with the Israelis.
Page 207: The unwavering official policy of the United States since Israel became a state has been that its borders must coincide with those prevailing from 1949 until 1967 (unless modified by mutually agreeable land swaps) ... . Also as a member of the International Quartet that includes Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union, America supports the Roadmap for Peace, which espouses exactly the same requirements.
There was no such "unwavering official policy."
For example, President Johnson said on June 19, 1967:
"The nations of the region have had only fragile and violated truce lines for 20 years. What they now need are recognized boundaries and other arrangements that will give them security against terror, destruction, and war. "
Arthur Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1965-1968, explained in a March 12, 1980 letter to the New York Times:
In a number of speeches at the U.N. in 1967, I repeatedly stated that the armistice lines fixed after 1948 were intended to be temporary. This, of course, was particularly true of Jerusalem. At no time in these many speeches did I refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.
And George Shultz, U.S. Secretary of State from 1982-1989, explained the Reagan administrations position in a 1988 address, saying "Israel will never negotiate from or return to the 1967 borders." (For more, see here.)
CNBC, The Tim Russert Show, Dec. 2, 2006:
The Palestinian Authoritys Hamas government has refused to accept previously signed agreements, including the Road Map.
Factual errors and distortions downplaying anti-Israel violence and Arab rejectionism
Page 62: When I met with Yasir Arafat in 1990, he stated, "The PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel. The Zionists started the 'drive the Jews into the sea' slogan and attributed it to the PLO."
The original PLO founding charter speaks almost exclusively of "the liberation of Palestine," and calls on Palestinians to "move forward on the path of jihad until complete and final victory has been attained." (Note that this was written in 1964, before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.) It adds: "The partitioning of Palestine, which took place in 1947, and the establishment of Israel are illegal and null and void ..."
Likewise, the 1968 version of the charter describes "Palestine" as the area encompassing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel, then states: "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase."
Arafat himself frequently called for destroying that nation, as in: "The goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromise" (Washington Post, March 29, 1970) and "peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations" (El Mundo
And Israels enemies have indeed referred to driving Jews into the sea. In a 1948 interview with the New York Times, for example, Muslim Brotherhood head Sheikh Hassan el-Bana said: "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea" ("Aim to oust Jews pledged by sheikh," Aug. 2, 1948).
More recently, Lieutenant-Colonel Munir Maqdah, who had commanded Arafat's Fatah army in Lebanon before being suspended, said his forces would continue fighting "the Jews and their agents" despite any peace talks, promising that "sooner or later we will throw the Zionists into the sea." (Reuters, Oct. 8, 1993)
Page 179: Hamas was now
page 184: When I questioned him about the necessity for Hamas to renounce violence and recognize Israel,
CNN, Larry King Live, Nov. 27, 2006:
... since August of 2004 ... Hamas has not been guilty of an act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life."
PBS, NewsHour, Nov. 28, 2006:
Carter: "... since August of 2004, has not committed a single act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life, not a single one."
Judy Woodruff: "I think many Americans would be surprised to hear that."
Carter: "I know. They would be surprised, but it's an actual fact."
On Aug. 31, 2004, Sixteen people were killed and 100 wounded in two nearly simultaneous suicide bombings aboard two city buses in Beer Sheva. Hamas claimed responsibility.
On Sept. 29, 2004, two preschool children were killed by a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility.
On Jan 13, 2005, Palestinians terrorists attacked the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, killing 6 civilians. Hamas claimed joint responsibility.
On July 14, 2005, a woman was killed by a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility.
KHOW-AM, The Caplis & Silverman Show (Denver), Dec. 12, 2006:
Carter flatly denied that Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, swore never to recognize Israel.
Silverman: "Didn't the head of Hamas, the elected leader of the Palestinians, go to Tehran last week and say We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government ..."
Carter: "No, he didn't."
Silverman: " ... and we will continue our jihad-like movement ...
Carter: "No, he didnt do that."
Silverman: " until the liberation of Jerusalem?"
Carter: "No, he didn't do that. I saw no report about that."
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, was quoted by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Detriot Free Press, the Guardian (London), and others saying just that.
Page 59: On June 5, Israel launched preemptive strikes, moving first against Egypt and Syria, then against Jordan."
Page 5: Israel launches preemptive attacks on Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and then Jordan ....
Israel did not preemptively strike Jordan. Jordan attacked Israel first, ignoring Israeli pleas that it refrain from joining the war.
Page 214: The prisoners proposal called for a unity government with Hamas joining the PLO, the release of all political prisoners, acceptance of Israel as a neighbor within its legal borders ..."
While calling for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the prisoners document says nothing about "acceptance of Israel as a neighbor," leaving open the possibility that Palestinian control over the occupied territories would be seen only as a "phase" toward an eventual Palestinian state encompassing Israel.
Many Palestinian leaders have acknowledged that the document does not call for "acceptance of Israel as a neighbor."
Abdul Rahman Zidan, a Palestinian government minster from Hamass "Change and Reform" list, told the BBC: "You will not find one word in the document clearly stating the recognition of Israel as a state."
Hamas leader Khalil Abu Leila said that "Fatah wants from us more than what is in this document. They want Hamas to recognize Israel and be a copy of Fatah, something that will not happen.... We will never recognize Israel."
Khalid Abu Hilal, a senior Hamas leader, said: "Our principles and statements are clear. We will never recognize Israel. We will recognize Israel only if it is far away."
And Salah Bardaweel, the leader of the Hamas faction in parliament, said: "We accept a state in
(For more details, see here.)
Page 197: The cycle of violence erupted once more in June 2006, when Palestinians dug a tunnel under the barrier that surrounds Gaza and attacked some Israeli soldiers, capturing one of them. They offered to exchange the soldier for the release of 95 women and 313 children ..."
CSPAN2, Book TV, Dec. 3, 2006:
'... And what the Palestinians asked for is, "Well swap you this one soldier
On June 26, 2006, CNN reported:
Palestinian militants distributed a statement Monday saying they will provide information about a kidnapped Israeli soldier if Israel agrees to release all female prisoners and all children under 18 being held in Israeli jails.
According to the Jan. 3, 2007 Jerusalem Post, "A senior Hamas official said Thursday his group was ready to give Israel a videotape of the soldier if it agreed to release Palestinian women prisoners and other detainees."
Israels Haaretz described the groups further demands: "For its part, Hamas is demanding that 400 prisoners be freed in the first part of the deal, and 500 each in the two subsequent parts of the exchange. Israel would like to limit that figure."
According to Haaretz, one of the prisoners Hamas expects Israel to release is "Abbas Sayed, the mastermind of the massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya over Passover in 2002, in which 29 civilians were killed."
Page 145: Of 1,696 voting places outside Jerusalem
Here Carter makes a gross error of omission. The Associated Press, New York Times, Agence France Press and others reported at the time that the Palestinians were killed after opening fire on Israeli security forces. An Israeli soldier was wounded when the three all Hamas members "tried to shoot their way past an Israeli roadblock." (Boston Globe, Jan. 21, 1996)
Page 147: Unfortunately for the peace process, Palestinian terrorists carried out two lethal suicide bombings in March 1996, a few weeks after the Palestinian election. Thirty-two Israeli citizens were killed, an act that probably gave the Likuds hawkish candidate, Binyamin Netanyahu, a victory over Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
This, too, is an error of omission, as Carter fails to mention significant Palestinian attacks that immediately preceded the March attacks. On February 25, 1996, a Hamas bomber killed 26 at the central bus station in Jerusalem, and a separate bombing claimed the life of another Israeli.
Factual errors about Israel, settlements and negotiations
Page 148: Maps on this page are labeled: "Palestinian Interpretation of Clintons Proposal 2000" and "Israeli Interpretation of Clintons Proposal 2000."
The maps are mislabeled. Dennis Ross, the U.S. peace negotiator who drew up the original version of Carters maps, explained:
Rick Richman gives further details about how the maps are mislabeled, and explains that "the point
The problem is that the ''Palestinian interpretation'' is actually taken from an Israeli map presented during the Camp David summit meeting in July 2000, while the "Israeli interpretation'' is an approximation of what President Clinton subsequently proposed in December of that year.
Without knowing this, the reader is left to conclude that the Clinton proposals must have been so ambiguous and unfair that Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, was justified in rejecting them. But that is simply untrue. (New York Times, Jan. 9, 2007)
Page 150-51: Later, during his last months in Washington, President Clinton made what he called his final proposal. ... Israel could maintain its control of the Jordan River valley ... .
There was no clear response from Prime Minister Barak, but he later stated that Israel had twenty pages of reservations. President Arafat rejected the proposal. ...
The best offer to the Palestiniansby Clinton, not Barakhad been to withdraw 20 percent of the settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, covering about 10 percent of the occupied land, including land to be "leased" and portions of the Jordan River valley and East Jerusalem.
CNBC, The Tim Russert Show, Dec. 2, 2006:
The fact is that the proposals
CNN, The Situation Room, Nov. 28, 2006
You could check with all the records. Barak never did accept
According to Clintons parameters, "a small Israeli presence" under the authority of an international force could remain in "fixed locations" in the Jordan Valley, but it would withdraw after a maximum of 36 months. Israel would withdraw from "between 94 and 96 percent of West Bank territory" and there would be a land swap of 1 to 3 percent. Baraks response was clearhe accepted the parameters. (Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace)
Page 130: ... when I visited Damascus in 1990, President Assad informed me that he was willing to negotiate with Israel on the status of the Golan Heights. His proposal was that both sides withdraw from the international border ...
Former executive director of the Carter Center Kenneth Stein, who was at the meeting, explained that his own notes of the Damascus meeting show that Assad, in response to a question from Carter, replied that Syria could not accept a demilitarized Golan without "sacrificing our sovereignty."
Stein also disputed Carter's statement in the book that Assad expressed willingness to move Syria's troops farther from the border than Israel should be required to do. (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 17, 2006)
Page 168: Living among 1.3 million Palestinians, the 8,000 Israeli settlers
Settlers lived on roughly 15-20 percent of Gaza land, and controlled little of its water. In fact, Israel has supplied, and continues to supply, large amounts of water to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The American Journalism Review in August/September 2004 published the following correction after similarly misstating Gaza statistics:
In "Caught in the Crossfire" (June/July), Barbara Matusow wrote that Israeli settlers occupy 25 percent of the land in the Gaza Strip and control most of the water resources. According to the Institute of Applied Research in Jerusalem, the Palestinians control 95 percent of the water resources in Gaza. Estimates vary widely when it comes to control of the land, however. A June 2004 report on Gaza by the World Bank states that 15 to 20 percent of the land is occupied by settlements.
Page 121: Each Israeli settler uses five times as much water as a Palestinian neighbor, who must pay four times as much per gallon.
According to Sharif Elmusa, who was a water negotiator for the Palestinian side in talks with Israel, Palestinians in the West Bank pay approximately $1 per CM for domestic water, "virtually identical with the price in Israel ..." (Elmusa, Water Conflict, 144)
Similarly, with regard to agricultural water, Elmusa writes: " ... in absolute terms, the price of irrigation water in Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan converged, and water prices could not have affected competitiveness in any significant way." (Elmusa, 173)
In fact, some Palestiniansthose in Jericho, Tulkarm and Gazahave paid substantially less for water than the typical Israeli household.
Page 197: Confessions extracted through torture are admissible in Israeli courts.
Under Israeli criminal procedures when a person claims that his confession was extracted via torture, a "trial-within-a-trial" is immediately held (in Hebrew mishpat zuta) in which the prosecution must disprove that torture or other illegitimate means were used. If the prosecution is unable to disprove claims of torture the confession is thrown out. In addition, if it appears that other illegal means short of torture were used, the confession can be admitted, but only if the court finds that the interrogation did not prejudice the defendants free will. (See for example, The Right to a Fair Trial, D. Weissbrodt and R. Wolfrum, eds., Springer, 1997.) See more details here.
Page 200: Finally, on August 11, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1701, which provided that combat would cease and that 15,000 Lebanese troops and an equal number from the international community would be deployed in Southern Lebanon as both Israeli and Hezbollah military forces withdrew. The key issues of prisoner exchange ... and the disarming of Hezbollah were postponed ... "
An operative paragraph of the resolution calls for "full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of 27 July 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State."
A preabulatory paragraph emphasizes the need for an "unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers" while also "encouraging the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel."
Page 151: There is a zone with a radius of about four hundred meters around each settlement within which Palestinians cannot enter.
Palestinians often enter within four hundred meters of Israeli settlements. The Israeli settlement of Psagot, for example, is well under 400 meters away from Ramallah, which under Oslo was turned over to full Palestinian control (Area A).
Palestinians sometimes enter the settlements. Palestinians from villages near the Israeli settlement of Ariel work alongside Israelis at a textile factory in the settlement.
NPR, Fresh Air, Nov. 26, 2006:
So far neither Olmert nor his predecessor Sharon has been willing to negotiate at all with the Palestinians even though their choice and the choice of the United States, that is Mahmoud Abbas, was the prime minister under of Arafat and later elected to be president. ...
Even when he was ordained as the one o represent the Palestinians, still not a single day of negotiations has been committed by Israel or the United States.
News reports prove Carter wrong. For example, the New York Times Steven Erlanger wrote on Feb. 9, 2005:
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, held summit talks at this Egyptian resort on Tuesday -- the highest-level meeting between the sides in four years -- and
declared a truce in hostilities.
Mr. Abbas said he and Mr. Sharon "have jointly agreed to cease all acts of violence against Israelis and Palestinians everywhere," while Mr. Sharon said they "agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and in parallel, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere."
Officials said Israel would also pull back its troops from five West
Bank cities -- Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Qalqilya -- in the next three weeks and stop the arrests and assassinations of top militants if they agree to put down their weapons. ("Urging New Path, Sharon and Abbas Declare Truce,")
The two met to negotiate on several other occasions. Abbas also has been responsible for cancelling planned meetings. (See details here.)
more here - a good reference page w/ links: