Saturday, April 19, 2008


Jimmy Carter's excellent adventure: so many terrorists, so little time

By Israel Insider staff April 18, 2008

Jimmy Carter and his wife lay a wreath on the tomb of proto-terrorist Yasser Arafat
It was everything a Palestinian terrorist could hope for: a wreath laid on Arafat's tomb, wet kisses from a former US, and a high profile meeting with leaders of Hamas that flew in the face of US and European policy. But that didn't faze Jimmy Carter, who relished the controversy, enjoyed the rough-cheeked nuzzles, and gave the top terrorist organizations the dubious legitimacy of a president who has joined the actively anti-Israel club.

The Israeli and U.S. governments condemned former President Carter's meetings this week with top officials of Hamas, which they consider to be a terrorist organization. His controversial tour of terror bigwigs included a meeting Thursday in Cairo with two senior Hamas politicians, and with the top Hamas politician, exiled leader Khalid Meshaal, on Friday in Damascus, Syria.

Carter laid a wreath of red roses at the grave of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat during a visit to the West Bank City of Ramallah on Tuesday.

"He and Mrs. Carter and his son Jeff wanted to pay their respects to President Arafat," Carter's trip director Rick Jasculca told Cybercast News Service. But the former president didn't make any comments there, he said.

Most Israeli officials refused to meet Carter during his prior visit to the Jewish state, furious over his defiance of State Department policy in meeting with a terror organization responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths, by his insistence that Israel should talk to Hamas and his explicit comparisons of Israeli policy with South African apartheid.

U.S. and Israeli officials doubt Carter's talks with Hamas will achieve anything except muddy efforts to isolate the Hamas terror organization, which has made no secret of its ultimate goal of eliminating Israel, and its continued support for suicide bombing, cross-border infiltrations and rocket attacks, especially from its Gaza base.

"We think it is not useful for people to be running to Hamas at this point and having meetings with Hamas," U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.

Even left-wing Israelis insist that talks with Hamas won't bring peace in the Middle East conflict. Carter had to endure a dressing-down by Shimon Peres, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, dubiously shared with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. Peres told Carter in no uncertain terms that meeting the leaders of the terror group "damages" the chance of peace and was "a big mistake."

"Hamas is conducting war against the citizens of Israel," said Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to Britain, and a left-of-center politician who worked with Peres. "What do you say to people who say, 'Why don't you talk, try and talk, and not to shoot'? It sounds very good but the question is, at what stage do you do that?"

Right-wing Israelis were less charitable. An aide to Netanyahu explained that his boss's unwillingness to meet with Carter "stems from [his] anti-Israel views over the past few years." Others suggested that the 85 year old President was a doddering publicity-hound who didn't know any better and would do anything that would blacken Israel's name. Israel did not extent security protection to Carter during his visit to the country.

While Carter called "despicable" Palestinian rockets attacks on Israeli civilians, he had even harsher words for Israeli attempts to deter and retaliate for those attacks. "It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It's a crime ... I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on," he said.

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