The World and Israel: Complicity in Zionism’s Crimes and Why

Essentially the joint US-Soviet Declaration required the Arab states and the Palestinians to make peace with Israel, and therefore to formally recognise and legitimize it at the end at the end of the negotiating process. This was to be in return for an Israeli withdrawal “from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict.” In addition to real peace Israel was to be offered a joint superpower guarantee of its existence; and the Israelis were required to recognize “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” The obvious implication was that after an Israeli withdrawal, a Palestinian mini-state would be created on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The idea was that “the representatives of all the parties involved including the Palestinians” would assemble in Geneva to talk their way to an end to the conflict based on the principles set down in the joint US-Soviet Declaration.

It was hailed by most mainstream media institutions throughout the Western world (and beyond) as a real breakthrough offering real hope for real peace.

What happened?

The Arab states and the PLO welcomed and accepted the joint US-Soviet Declaration as a basis for negotiations leading to peace with Israel. Because the PLO had not been mentioned by name, and because there was no specific commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian mini-state, a minority of Palestinian leaders (not the mainstream) were unhappy and made their usual rejectionist noises, but Arafat had no trouble in getting his mainstream (and majority) leadership colleagues to accept the declaration as the basis for negotiations with Israel.

Some years later I asked Arafat if he had truly believed that the Americans and the Soviets had opened the door to peace. And I told Carter exactly what Arafat said to me in reply.


Yes, yes, yes. I was very happy. Very excited. It was an historic moment. For the first time the two superpowers were committed to doing something for us Palestinians. Truly I believed there would be peace with some justice for my people. I was more optimistic than at any time in my life.


Israel rejected the US-Soviet Declaration.

General Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed warlord and former defence minister, had crossed the Knesset floor to become foreign minister in Begin’s second-term coalition government, and he, Prime Minister Begin, sent Dayan to Washington to bully and blackmail President Carter into tearing up the joint US-Soviet Declaration and substitute for it a joint US-Israel memorandum of understanding, the terms of which Dayan more or less dictated to Carter and Vance. (Dayan had long been of the view that Israel’s task was not to explore the prospects for peace but to create settlement facts on the ground. According to a report in Time, Dayan was on the record just before the 1973 war with this statement. “There is no more Palestine. It’s finished!”)

The joint US-Israel memorandum of was, in effect, the list of Israel’s conditions for its attendance at a Geneva conference. Palestine was back to being a “problem of refugees”, in other words the Palestinians had no right to self-determination; 242 was back on the agenda, which meant that the PLO could not involve itself; and Israel would “discuss”, not negotiate about, the West Bank. Dayan also announced that Israel would walk out of any Geneva conference if the question of a Palestinian state was brought up.

The question I wanted to explore in depth with Carter was why, really, he had surrendered to Dayan and his new political master, Menachem Begin.

The conversation took place in the Oval Office equivalent at the Carter Center in Atlanta where, in partnership with Emory University. Jimmy and Rosalynn had set up a non-profit foundation which was driven by their true commitment to human rights, the alleviation of human suffering, the prevention and resolution of conflicts and advancing the prospects for freedom and democracy and improving health.

From the outset I knew I was going to have a very honest conversation with Carter and here’s why.

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