Israel's continued building of settlements on the West Bank is "the single most difficult obstacle to overcome" in achieving peace in the Middle East, former President Jimmy Carter said last night at Goucher College.
Mr. Carter, answering questions after a lecture, said the ongoing West Bank settlements are "almost proof that peace negotiations will not be successful."
On politics, he said that while Democrats may be faced with a very popular president now in George Bush, "I think that it is not a permanent popularity."
"If the Democrats can take upon themselves the staging of an attractive platform presented by an attractive candidate, they have a chance," Mr. Carter said, and he suggested a platform based on both liberal and conservative issues.
He said the conservative side of the platform should include strong local government and an adequate defense policy that takes advantage of the peace dividend and fiscal responsibility. Liberal issues that appeal to the average voter include housing, the environment, education, health care and civil rights, Mr. Carter said, adding that the latter had been abandoned under Republican administrations.