Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (Review)

November 27, 2014

Book cover for "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" by Jimmy Carter.Title: Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid

Author/Narrator: Jimmy Carter

Publication Year: 2006

Pages: 288 (audio length: 5 hours 2 minutes)

Genre: Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

President Carter, who was able to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, has remained deeply involved in Middle East affairs since leaving the White House. He has stayed in touch with the major players from all sides in the conflict and has made numerous trips to the Holy Land, most recently as an observer of the Palestinian elections in 2005 and 2006.

In this book, President Carter shares his intimate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and his personal experiences with the principal actors, and he addresses sensitive political issues many American officials avoid. Pulling no punches, Carter prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land without a system of apartheid or the constant fear of terrorism.

The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known, the president writes. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy, and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians.

The one major positive thing that I can say for this book is that it’s well-written. It’s well-researched, well-planned out, and makes a very large effort to be well-balanced.

Palestine contains a great deal of information, both for historical context and to explain the current (as of 2006, anyways) situation on the ground. There’s lots of facts, biographical information of key players, and explanations of the negotiations that have happened between Israel and Palestine over the years. There’s also lots of statistics presented.

The problem with all of this fact-giving is that it ends up making the book a rather dry read. I had a hard time staying focused throughout Palestine, and I have a lot of prior knowledge of the situation and interest in learning more. I can’t imagine how hard it might be to wade through this book if you weren’t already at least a bit familiar with what was going to be presented.

Overall, while I thought that Carter did a good job presenting his case for a two-state solution rather than what’s currently happening, I don’t think that his writing style is approachable for the average person to read. Palestine is a good analytical text, but only for scholars and those already invested in the issues. It would not be a good place to start if you were just beginning to learn about Middle East affairs.

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