Watch CBSN Live

Jimmy Carter's New Book On Palestine

Since he left office in 1981, former President Jimmy Carter has continued to work for peace. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Carter has monitored international elections and built housing across the United States and across the world.

He continues to work for peace and writes about one of the world's most troubled spots in his book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid." Carter, who brokered the peace between Israel and Egypt in 1978, has a unique perspective on the situation in the Middle East.

The title of the book has angered many Israel sympathizers because of the use of the word "apartheid," the South African system once used to disenfranchise and oppress the black majority and empower the country's white minority.

"It's based on a minority of Israelis occupying, confiscating and colonizing land that belongs to the Palestinians," Carter told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank and connects 200 or so settlements (to) each other with a road and prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, in many cases even crossing the road — this perpetrates even worse instances of … apartheid than we witnessed in South Africa."

Carter said the occupation of Palestinian land contradicts the peace agreement he brokered between Egypt and Israel and also violates a United Nations resolution. He said despite Israel's refusal to adhere to agreements and resolutions, the United States government has been consistently supportive of its actions.

"There's never been any debate on this issue of any significance, Carter said. "And the news media are acquiescent, members of the Congress are acquiescent, where the rest of the world debates this intensely, particularly in Israel."

The danger, Carter said, is that the conflict in Israel will become even more violent than it already is.

"Israel has the choice to make: Peace approved by all Arabs, by withdrawing from occupied territory, or the retention of those isolated settlements in the West Bank instead of peace," Carter said.

The former president is also critical of the way President George W. Bush has handled Iraq, a war he thought was a horrible mistake from the beginning. Carter said that one of the first steps he thinks the Bush administration should to improve the situation is open communication with leaders from Iran and Syria, even though Bush has refused to deal with the two nations because he says they sponsor terrorism.

"When we have a difference of agreement with a nation or people, the first thing we should do is to open up communications with them," Carter said.

Carter said he is looking forward for the Baker-Hamilton commission report on Iraq. Carter said he expects the committee, lead by former Secretary of State James Baker and former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton, to set a time table to withdraw.

"I think as long as they can depend upon American troops being there indefinitely, they (Iraqi leaders) are less likely to take strong action on their own to control the violence," he said.

Read an excerpt of the book here.

View CBS News In