Carter: Israel-Palestinian conflict a cause of Paris attacks

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the factors that led to the deaths of 17 victims in three attacks in France, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said.

Carter made the assertion Monday night during an appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

“Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem. And this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now — what’s being done to them. So I think that’s part of it,” Carter told Jon Stewart.

He called the training in the Middle East of Muslim extremists with passports from countries such as France, Britain and the United States a “new evolutionary development in terrorism.”

“They stay there for a few months and learn how to be a terrorist and then they come back through Turkey and you know they have been there and you know who they are. And I think this event in Paris is going to waken up the people in charge of security to watch those people more closely than they have in the past – and not single out all of the Muslims in the country,” he said.

Carter, who wrote a book called “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,” told Stewart that it is “disheartening” to think about how much time has elapsed since the Oslo Accords –signed in 1993 – without a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“I still have hope for peace in the Middle East, but a distant hope,” he said. He said the United States must be “in the forefront of demanding that the Palestinians and the Israelis  come together and accept a reasonable solution to the problem.”

His formula, he told Stewart, is for Israel to give up the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem and for the Palestinians to promise Israel security.