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Carter on Gaza

In today’s Washington Post, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives his take on the current fighting in Gaza.  Of course, it can all be summarized as follows: had everyone only listened to me when I was in the Middle East earlier this year, the war would have never taken place.  And, consistent with his previous analyses on all things Middle Eastern, the one party that particularly deserves reprobation for failing to heed Carter’s sage advice is—you guessed it—Hamas.

Yeah, right:

…After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government.

Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the cease-fire proposal. After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel’s withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel’s unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza. …

What’s more disturbing: Carter’s contention that Hamas would accept “any” peace agreement negotiated between Israel and Mahmoud Abbas, or his apparent belief that Hamas was building a harmless “defensive” tunnel in Gaza?  Either way, Jimmy’s musings make you wonder whether he got the memo—or, in this case, the many memos on Hamas’s historic refusal to recognize Israel and use of tunnels for transporting offensive weapons.  Indeed, you almost forget that Carter was once U.S. President and still runs a policy center—so not only does he get the memos, but he probably also gets a full daily news briefing!

All of this is to say, for the umpteenth time, that Jimmy Carter’s ability to embarrass is a constant source of personal amazement.



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