Mitri Raheb responds to President Jimmy Carter’s NY Times Op-Ed “America Must Recognize Palestine”

Two weeks ago President Jimmy Carter invited twelve Palestinian civil society leaders to meet with him at the Carter Center in Atlanta to discuss ideas about how to break the deadlock in the Israel/Palestine peace process. I’m glad to see this op-ed piece in the NY Times as one of the outcomes of our conference with him.

Today peace seems to be further away than ever. For sometime we were having more process than peace but we ended up with neither process nor peace. At this meeting at the Carter Center I gave a presentation of the situation in Bethlehem: expanding Israeli settlements, a wall surrounding Bethlehem from three sides, the socio-economic, environmental, and psychological implications. I spoke about the urgency to act now before it is too late taking into account that next year, 2017, commemorates 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the UN decision to decide Palestine, and 50 years since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

This was my fourth time to meet with President Carter. It was amazing to see the determination, energy, and commitment of President Carter at 92 years old. I pray and hope that President Obama will listen to his older colleague and that readers will be inspired to commit anew to working for justice in Palestine. Bright Stars of Bethlehem offers you creative ways to get engaged today making a difference in the lives of the people of Palestine.

You can read the full op-ed by President Carter by clicking here.

Photo credit: Jessica McGowan / Getty Images