(JNS.org) – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter lamented the “vanishing” prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace during a trip to Jerusalem this week, blaming Israeli construction in the West Bank.
Carter called the current situation “catastrophic” and accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of pursuing a one-state solution, despite Netanyahu’s previous statements committing to a two-state solution, including his 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Netanyahu has decided the one-state option is the one he’s going to pursue,” Carter said.
Carter is on a two-day trip with a group of former statesmen called “The Elders,” which met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Associated Press reported.
“We’ve reached a crisis stage,” said Carter. “The two-state solution is the only realistic path to peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians.”
However, Carter also had harsh words for President Barack Obama concerning the peace process, according to the New York Times.
“The U.S. government policy the last two to three years has basically been a rapid withdrawal from any kind of controversy,” Carter said. “Every president has been a very powerful factor here in advocating this two-state solution.
That is now not apparent,” he added.
Despite helping to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt during his presidency, Carter has become a harsh critic of Israel in recent years. His 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid claimed that Israel’s settlement of Palestinian land was the primary obstacle to Mideast peace.
The book was met with widespread outrage within Israel and the American Jewish community. Carter has also made a number of trips to Gaza, meeting with officials from Hamas—a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction.
Carter has repeatedly criticized Israel’s blockade of the territory.