More Links in News & Events

Q&A: Middle East Peace, Africa, Muliculturalism, and Fishing

By Jimmy Carter

Q. Would the creation of a Palestinian state be a favorable thing?
Their form of government is a decision to be made by the Palestinians, obviously with consideration for Israeli security.

This is the path being followed in current peace talks.

The Camp David Accords of September 1978 made very similar commitments about Palestinian self-determination. President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed that, during a transition period, negotiations would determine the final status of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli military government and its civilian administration were to be withdrawn except for specified security locations.

The negotiated agreement was to be submitted to a vote by elected representatives so that the Palestinians could decide how they should govern themselves.

During subsequent discussions, it was assumed that a Palestinian state never would be approved by Israel and that some kind of federation with Jordan would be more likely.

Now, however, it seems increasingly inevitable that an independent Palestinian state will be formed -- but after Palestinian leaders have negotiated satisfactory relationships with Israel and perhaps Jordan.

Q. What is the biggest obstacle to creating food self-sufficiency in Africa?
It's the failure to develop among small farmers the ability to increase agricultural production.

By making available good seed, moderate fertilizer applications, contoured rows to control erosion and instruction with on-farm demonstrations, our Global 2000 program has proven among almost 200,000 families that this is a feasible goal.

Top political leaders cooperate fully, and most of the expenses are borne by the local government and the private sector. Obviously adequate storage and distribution to non-farm consumers are also needed.

International lending institutions should channel assistance to these small-scale and local agricultural projects instead of to major power dams and other similar projects.

Private foundations, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and other specialized organizations could address needs in specific crops and geographical regions.

The key is to best utilize the ability and ambition of small farm families.

Q. What advice can you give for dealing with different cultures?
My wife Rosalynn and I have visited about 110 countries, mostly in our Carter Center work.

Even when we disagree with the policies of political leaders, we approach each society with great respect for its peoples and customs.

Unfortunately, many American visitors have a reputation for arrogance, insensitivity, lack of interest in local people and an inclination to adhere to the narrowly defined tourist trails.

Learning about a nation in advance will make any visit much more interesting and enjoyable. This is particularly true in countries that are not often visited, like Eritrea, Yemen, Albania, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Chad and North Korea.

We like to attend local cultural events and to leave the big cities whenever possible and spend some time in small villages and farming areas.

Q. I understand you are a fly-fisherman. What was your favorite fishing trip?
Rosalynn and I are avid fly-fishers and schedule several opportunities each year to practice this art. We've fished in many of our American states, and in New Zealand, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Kenya, China, England, Wales and the Bahamas.

When we were in North Korea last year, President Kim Il Sung insisted that we return with our fly rods to fish the streams in northern regions of his country. He was very proud of his long-term stocking program and wanted us to substantiate his claim that some of the world's finest trout are there.

Although each fishing trip has unique attractions, it is undisputed that Alaska has some of the greatest fly-fishing opportunities. A week around Lake Iliamna, southwest of Anchorage, with our oldest grandson, 10-year-old Jason, is one of the most memorable. We fished in the Copper River and also flew out of camp to different places to catch rainbow trout, grayling, Arctic char and Northern pike. It took me more than an hour, and I struggled a mile downstream before landing and releasing a 12-pound rainbow.

President Carter's columns are distributed biweekly by the New York Times Syndicate. For more information, please contact the Syndicate at (212) 499-3333.

Donate Now

Sign Up For Email

Please sign up below for important news about the work of The Carter Center and special event invitations.

Please leave this field empty
Now, we invite you to Get Involved
Back To Top