Carter: US "In Bed" with Israel
By The Palestine Chronicle
October 17, 2002

WASHINGTON (PMC) - Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter on Monday voiced a sharp criticism of President George W. Bush’s ongoing policy in the Middle East, saying the current US administration was mistreating Palestinians while being ‘in bed’ with Israel.

“We’re in bed, you might say with the Israelis and we won’t even talk to the leaders of the Palestinians,” Carter said expressing anger at the Bush administration’s consistent attempts to sideline Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

In an interview with Sky Radio Network, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate accused Bush of doing very little to bring peace into the Middle East, especially because of Washington’s unequivocal bias towards its chief ally, Israel.

Winning the Nobel Prize was seen as a rebuke of Bush’s administration for its persistent push for a war on Iraq, threatening to drag the entire region into mayhem.

“We’re doing very little,” Carter said of Bush’s attempts to pacify the situation. “As a matter of fact, this administration has basically abandoned any real effort to bring about reconciliation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

Speaking on the day he received his prize, the former President stressed the US cannot be seen as a neutral mediator between Palestinians and Israelis.

“You have to be trusted by both sides…you have to deal equally with both sides, we’re not doing that,” Carter said, lamenting what he said was the end of a nearly 30-year US commitment to the Middle East peace process, AFP reported.

“I hope that eventually we will see the error of this procedure and get back into a real mediation role,” he added.

Carter, who was renowned for his peacemaking during and after his time at the White House, unleashed his harsh wordings prior to a visit by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to Washington, which previously criticized Israel for its persistent killing of Palestinians and the dire humanitarian situation it is inflicting in the occupied Palestinian Territory.