Jimmy Carter on Human Rights

Our country did not invent human rights.
Human rights invented our country.
-Jimmy Carter

It is not inconceivable to me, that if the United States would use its full commitment, joined by Gorbechev, if he's still there, and I hope he will be, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't convene, as soon as possible, not immediately, a peace conference, to deal with the relationships between Israel and her neighbors. (applause)

There's a totally new factor there that did not exist when I was in the White House, and that is, that there are conveners who would be trusted by Israel. I can understand why the Israelies would not want the United Nations to sponsor a peace conference. When Israel has a problem in the United Nations, they generally get two votes, theirs and ours. And the other side gets a hundred and forty eight.

But now there's a new relationship between Israel and the Soviet Union. Tens of thousands of of Jews have been released from the Soviet Union, they have very regular diplomatic exchanges. I think the international conference could be convened jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union. Israel could trust that commitment.

I think that when they convene the world's TV cameras would be focused on it. Be one of the most dramatic political events in history. And then let the Israelies give their best case to the world. Then let the Palistineans give their best case. Then the Lebonese and the Syrians and the Jordanians. I don't think they would demagogue. I don't think they would try to revise history in a vetucritave way. I think they would give their best image. There's no differences between Israel and Egypt. One that's done, the thing ought to be adjourned, or recessed, let Israel negotiate with her neighbors individually and bilaterally, and then let them conclude agreements. The Soviet Union and the United States ought not to interfere, we ought not to impose our will on either side, we ought not to try to veto what they do. Once it's done and we have some successes, then the world community should raise enought money to pay for it. And it'll be fairly expensive. But let the Saudies and the Omanies and the Japanese and the United States and Europe put in some money to pay for it. It won't be nearly as costly as this war is every month. (applause) There's some wonderful results that can be obtained. I'm just going to give you two quick ideas. One is that the Dead Sea, that we've studied about since we were two years old, is drying up. It's dropping about one foot a year. And very shortly the whole bottom of the Dead Sea is going to be exposed, we're going to have two little tiny Dead Seas. It's very troubling ecologically, but the gulf of Akabah is fourteen hundred feed higher, and you can take that salt water, run it into the Dead Sea, replenish its level, and generate enormous quantities of electricity, practically free once it's built. And then that electricity can be used to make nitrogen, and take tremendous advantage of the potash and phosphates there. That's just one example, a very exciting, but feasible project.

The other one is tourism. You know, I happen to be a Christian. Can you think about the wonderful tourism opportunities that you could go to Jeruselum, and then go to Bethleham, then go to Jericho, and then cross the Jordan River and see where Moses looked at the promised land and couldn't go in, then drive up to Damascus and see where Paul lived, then go down to Egypt where the chosen people came from, and see the Red Sea, I mean just in one tour, it wouldn't take a week. What a wonderful opportunity that would be. That's the kind of think I see as part of a new world order in the future. just dreams, but dreams that can come true.

Jimmy Carter