In what will assuredly be seen as one of the greater gaffes of his career, former president Jimmy Carter dramatically reassured a packed crowd of diplomats and reporters this week that Hamas would now recognize the Jewish State.
Hamas, apparently, is now ready to live at peace with Israel if a peace agreement is signed and ratified by the Palestinians, which would assure that the Palestinian state would be established in the areas taken by Israel in the 1967 war. Carter made his statement at the Israel Council of Foreign Relations at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Monday, following his extensive visits with Hamas terror leaders in Gaza, Egypt and Syria.
It didn’t take long for Hamas to clarify their intentions. Two hours after Carter’s speech was broadcast on Israel radio, Hamas leader Khaled Maschal, who had held extensive meetings with Carter in Damascus, denied that any such assurance had been made. Maschal, who had overseen Carter’s talks with other Hamas leaders in Egypt and in Gaza, once again reaffirmed the Hamas commitment to liquidate the Jewish state. Not for the first time, the ex-president was left looking like a dupe of the terrorists.
As a result of Carter’s consorting with Hamas terrorists, a Michigan congressman proposed cutting off all federal funding for the Carter Center. The CARTER Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (D-Mich), would prevent any further federal aid to finance discussions and negotiations with terrorist groups, according to Knollenberg.
Meanwhile, Rep. Sue Myrick ( R-N.C), a Republican congressional leader, called upon U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to revoke Carter's passport. "Former President Carter has acted in contradiction of international agreements to isolate Hamas," said Myrick, the deputy Republican whip in the House. "He has acted in defiance of both United States policy and international policy."
For his part, Carter is none the wiser. For his next visit, Carter reportedly plans to meet with Fatah and then invite Hamas to join its governing coalition. Although this may seem more sensible than his recent outreach to Hamas, it suffers from the same delusion. Since 2002, Fatah has officially been designated by the United States government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, an “F.T.O.” after Hamas was designated by the United States Government as an "F.T.O." in 1995.
Although engaged in 18 years of negotiations with Israel, Fatah is not much different in its purpose from its enemy, Hamas. For instance, Fatah has yet to ratify the 1993 Oslo accords that were reached with the late Fatah leader Yassir Arafat and his protégé Mahmoud Abbas, and which provided Palestinian recognition of Israel and renunciation of terrorism. But continued Fatah negotiations with Israel have obfuscated the Fatah goal of a Palestinian state that will replace Israel. This is a goal that it shares with Hamas. Indeed, Fatah’s military wing, the Al Aksa Brigades, remains on the list of organizations that are designated by the United States government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Despite its continued terror status, the governments of the United States and Israel openly deal with Fatah. And if recent history does not make the futility of such negotiations obvious, one need only consider that their most vocal advocate is none other than Jimmy Carter.