Former president’s Hamas strategy

The World

Jimmy Carter helped broke the historic peace deal between Egypt and Israel in 1979, but his recent activities concerning Palestinians have rankled Israelis. His recent book likens Israel’s policies towards those of South Africa’s during white rule. This Israeli observer says Carter has lost credibility on the Arab-Israeli issue. He says Carter genuinely cares about Mid-East peace but on this trip is going too far, and is not coordinating with the Palestinians or Israelis or the Bush administration upon decided to meet with Hamas, especially if Carter struck a deal with Hamas. Carter is meeting with one Hamas official who both Israel and the US consider a major terrorist. Carter maintains he’s not trying to upstage negotiators, but both Israel and the US need to meet with Hamas and he wants to serve as a bridge. Few in Israel see it that way, and they worry the meeting will give legitimacy to Hamas. Many Israeli officials are using the opportunity to shun Carter. Carter met this afternoon with a Hamas politician in the West Bank and requested to meet with Hamas officials in Gaza, a request which was denied. The Bush administration’s official position is that they’d be happy to hear Carter’s reflections on his visit once back.

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