- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Former President Jimmy Carter expressed concerns Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be too willing to go to war with Iran.

“I don’t think that’s his first preference, but I think he’s much more eager to go to war with Iran than President Obama [is]. And I was glad to see President Obama discourage that immediate resumption of hostilities between Israel and its neighbors that the Israelis seem to be inclined to do,” the former president said in an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio broadcast.

Mr. Netanyahu is in Washington this week to meet with Mr. Obama and other American leaders about the Iranian nuclear program, and Mr. Carter said “my hope is that President Obama will prevail and we can avoid war with Iran.”

“I think the economic sanctions would be adequate,” Mr. Carter added. “War with Iran can and should be avoided.”

The former president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, predicted that the Camp David Accords, the 1979 peace treaty he brokered between Egypt and Israel, would survive the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Mr. Carter said he has met recently with the Muslim Brotherhood’s political and religious leadership, and “they know it’s very important to Egypt to maintain peace with Israel.”

“They assured me personally — and they have made public statements accordingly — that they will honor the peace treaty that I helped to negotiate back in 1979 … and I don’t have any doubt that they will carry out their promise to me.”

Despite his role in the Camp David negotiations, Israel’s first peace treaty with any of its Arab neighbors, Mr. Carter has seen his stock tumble in recent years in Israel and with the country’s American backers since his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.”

Mr. Carter’s use of the word “apartheid” prompted rebukes and criticism of varying degrees, most notably from former President Bill Clinton and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and an unwanted endorsement from Osama bin Laden.

The former president is promoting his latest book, “NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter.”

• David Eldridge can be reached at deldridge@washingtontimes.com.

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