The New York Times reports: Three decades after leaving the White House, former President Jimmy Carter still functions inside the trappings of power, cruising through fiercely contested areas of this city on Monday in a 12-car motorcade, with Secret Service agents stationed strategically as he surveyed the view from the Mount of Olives.
But at 88, Mr. Carter, trying to nudge his agenda without an official platform, no longer filters his words for politics or diplomacy. On Monday, he ramped up his years of criticism of Israeli policy by saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacked the courage of his predecessors and that he had abandoned the two-state solution that has been the accepted framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. And just two weeks before the American election, he was almost as critical of President Obama, saying his administration has shirked the historical role played by the United States in the region.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Netanyahu has decided the one-state option is the one he’s going to pursue,” Mr. Carter said, despite Mr. Netanyahu’s professed commitment to two states, notably in a 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University.
As for Mr. Obama, a fellow Democrat, the former president said, “The U.S. government policy the last two to three years has basically been a rapid withdrawal from any kind of controversy.”
He added: “Every president has been a very powerful factor here in advocating this two-state solution. That is now not apparent.” [Continue reading…]