TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump should ignore former president Jimmy Carter’s advice on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump’s inauguration rabbi said.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, made his remarks following the broadcast of an interview with Carter on CNN during which the nonagenarian former president said, “I hope that President Trump will make progress in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians and that he will bring justice to the Palestinians and alleviation of their long-term — 50 years now — suffering as an occupied territory. Of course, the Palestinians also have to be willing to recognize Israel as a nation living side by side with them in peace.”
Carter is not advising Trump directly.
Hier, who blessed the president during his January 20 inauguration, responded to Carter’s comments: “Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter is the wrong person giving President Trump advice on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Carter refuses to recognize that this is not a conflict between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government and this has no relationship to his negotiations between Israel and Egypt.” Carter helped broker a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in the late 1970s.
“The only solution is the removal of Hamas from power in Gaza,” Hier said.
“Trump is not going to let it stand that the Kotel (Western Wall) is going to be under the sovereignty of another nation, or that it’ll be ‘internationalized,’ as the Vatican would like,” Hier said. “Those are unworkable suggestions that are never going to be agreed upon by the State of Israel. Trump has made it clear on so many occasions that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, so it would be quite a reversal for him to state differently on this occasion.”
Hier’s remarks came after a press briefing earlier in the day by Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who declined to give direct answers when pressed as to whether the U.S. regards the Western Wall as part of Israel. McMaster said only that the matter was a “policy decision.”