The Elders

Jimmy Carter

Dear friends,

Anyone who pursues a career in politics is no stranger to making unpopular decisions – as a former President, I know this very well. There are times when you will suffer vociferous opposition for doing what you believe is right and just. Putting aside the short-term political advantages in favour of serving the broader interests of humanity takes enormous courage.

Courage is what the Middle East needs today. In Washington DC last week, we heard from Secretary of State John Kerry directly about his impressive work bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together. Later, in London, we had long discussions with Palestinian leaders. The two sides have the opportunity now to resume negotiations in what is almost certainly their last chance to secure peace.

The Elders meet John Kerry Martti Ahtisaari

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The obstacles remain formidable. When the Elders last visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, we saw how the two-state solution – the only possible solution that could bring about lasting peace – was on the verge of extinction. Reviving it will require significant compromises, and Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas face huge pressure from detractors in their own governments not to grant any concessions at all.

It is not naïve, however, to believe that the two leaders may be prepared to show the kind of courage that is needed. Most importantly, a comprehensive peace agreement will be good for everyone involved. Also, all leaders think about their legacy. On the one hand, they could go down in history as the men who let the two-state solution fall out of reach forever, resulting in disaster. On the other, they can be remembered as the men who, at last, brought peace to the Holy Land.

Welcoming two new Elders

Hina Jilani Ernesto Zedillo

I know that I speak for all of the Elders in warmly welcoming our two new members: Hina Jilani and Ernesto Zedillo.

Ernesto has already had the chance to join our most recent Elders delegation to Washington DC, where we greatly appreciated his knowledge and experience on the key global issues on our agenda.

I have also known Hina for some years through her work with The Carter Center, and I believe her tenacity and courage in the defence of human rights will be a tremendous asset to our work.

Best wishes,

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter signature

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