The thoughts and prayers of many people in this region and around the world are with former US president Jimmy Carter, who announced yesterday that he is being treated for cancer. The 90-year-old statesman has maintained a busy schedule, travelling around the world to champion peaceful resolutions to conflict. It is in the Middle East, however, that his continuing legacy is most poignantly felt.
As president, Mr Carter helped facilitate peace between Israel and Egypt while the Iran crisis changed the complexion of the region. Outside the White House, Mr Carter has withstood many attacks on his character to defend Palestinian rights. The debate on Israel/Palestine in America has dramatically changed over the past decade thanks in no small measure to Mr Carter’s tireless activism. Open criticism of Israel’s occupation would not have become commonplace in the US without Mr Carter’s efforts. Because of his diagnosis, he will slow down his tireless humanitarian work, but he has already left behind an important legacy in our region and beyond.