Writing in today’s Washington Post, the former president calls makes a plea for the US and Israel to not “punish” the Palestinians as a result of the recent elections there where the terrorist group Hamas won a majority of Parliament seats. Furthermore, he seems to still want to believe that Hamas is interested in a peaceful coexistence with Israel (emphasis added):
The role of the prime minister was greatly strengthened while Abbas and Ahmed Qureia served in that position under Yasser Arafat, and Abbas has announced that he will not choose a prime minister who does not recognize Israel or adhere to the basic principles of the “road map.” This could result in a stalemated process, but my conversations with representatives of both sides indicate that they wish to avoid such an imbroglio. The spokesman for Hamas claimed, “We want a peaceful unity government.” If this is a truthful statement, it needs to be given a chance.
During this time of fluidity in the formation of the new government, it is important that Israel and the United States play positive roles. Any tacit or formal collusion between the two powers to disrupt the process by punishing the Palestinian people could be counterproductive and have devastating consequences.
Unfortunately, these steps are already underway and are well known throughout the Palestinian territories and the world. Israel moved yesterday to withhold funds (about $50 million per month) that the Palestinians earn from customs and tax revenue. Perhaps a greater aggravation by the Israelis is their decision to hinder movement of elected Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council members through any of more than a hundred Israeli checkpoints around and throughout the Palestinian territories. This will present significant obstacles to a government’s functioning effectively. Abbas informed me after the election that the Palestinian Authority was $900 million in debt and that he would be unable to meet payrolls during February. Knowing that Hamas would inherit a bankrupt government, U.S. officials have announced that all funding for the new government will be withheld, including what is needed to pay salaries for schoolteachers, nurses, social workers, police and maintenance personnel. So far they have not agreed to bypass the Hamas-led government and let humanitarian funds be channeled to Palestinians through United Nations agencies responsible for refugees, health and other human services.
This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.
Evidently, Mr. Carter needs to be reminded about a few things here. First, the recent statement Hamas leader Khaled Meshal (emphasis added):
JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 — The exiled political head of the radical Islamic group Hamas said Saturday in Damascus, Syria, that the group would adopt “a very realistic approach” toward governing the Palestinian Authority and would work with the Fatah president, Mahmoud Abbas, on an acceptable political program.
But the leader, Khaled Meshal, also said Hamas would not “submit to pressure to recognize Israel, because the occupation is illegitimate and we will not abandon our rights” nor would it disarm, but would work to create a unified Palestinian army.
He insisted that “resistance is a legitimate right that we will practice and protect” and he defended attacks on Israeli civilians, which included many suicide bombings until a cease-fire nearly a year ago. Then he said Hamas was “ready to work with Europe and even the United States if they wish.”
The former prez also needs to be refreshed on the Hamas agenda (via their charter):
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.”
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
He’s also needs to realize that Hamas is not a “militant” group – I know he rejects the use of the word “terrorists” to describe Hamas, but frankly there is no other way around it. They are what they are: terrorists It’s like calling the 9-11 terrorists militants. It just doesn’t fit. The sooner Carter realizes that the better.
Carter continues to be an embarassment on the world stage regarding the Middle East peace process. I respect his work with Habitat for Humanity but as far as his international savvy, he’s sorely lacking and quite frankly I wish he’d put a lid on it.
More: Ankle Biting Pundits slams Carter’s latest attempt at appeasement.
Related Toldjah So posts:
- NYT denounces US, Israel on handling of Hamas – but praises Putin
- House Republican to introduce bill to slash PA funding
- Hamas leader won’t change attitude towards Israel
- LATimes channels Jimmy Carter on Hamas
- Bad news for the Middle East – Hamas wins Palestinian elections
- Jimmy Carter and the “so-called terrorists”
- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers severe stroke
- UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People