Former President Jimmy Carter has called on the current US administration to recognise the state of Palestine in the hope of securing a UN Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Writing in Monday’s New York Times, Carter urged outgoing President Obama not to “squander this chance” for peace.

Carter, who in 1978 oversaw the signing of the Camp David Accords between
Israel’s Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s President, Anwar Sadat, wrote: “It has been President Obama’s aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.

“I am convinced the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.

“The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on 20 January is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.”

He said Obama had reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a total freeze on Israeli building of settlements. But he added: “I fear for the spirit of Camp David. We must not squander this chance.”

President Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the Foreign Ministry have yet to
publicly respond.