Former president Jimmy Carter has called on Barack Obama to recognise Palestine as an independent state before he leaves office. Mr Carter, who has been outspoken about Palestinian rights and has urged a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, said Palestine should achieve full United Nations membership.
In a published article at The New York Times, the former US president wrote: “I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.” He added: “The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine.” Mr Carter also said the UN Security council should pass a resolution “laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. Reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders,” with further measures including the demilitarization of the Palestinian state and a possible UN peacekeeping force.
He also criticised the building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land by saying, “Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands,” he wrote. “Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel’s national elections.”
Barack Obama has been critical of Israel, telling the nation it cannot permanently occupy and settle on Palestinian land.
In a speech to the United Nations, the US president said both sides would benefit if Israel recognised it cannot permanently occupy the land and if Palestinians rejected incitement and recognised Israel’s legitimacy.