The Israel government and the United States State Department are furious with former President Jimmy Carter’s decision to meet with Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal in Damascus next week. Senior Israel diplomats were “outraged” at Carter’s action and Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzip Livni made it clear they will not see Carter when he arrives in Israel. But, President Shimon Peress, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and other Israel leaders indicated a willingness to discuss with Carter what he found out while talking with leaders of Hamas. Jimmy Carter was the only American president to successfully broker a peace agreement between Israel and Arab leaders when he helped bring together Israel and Egypt.
The State Department issued a statement that American “policy is that Hamas is a terrorist organization and we don’t believe it is in the interest of our policy or in the interest of peace to have such a meeting.” Pesident Peres said he would meet with Carter in recognition of his past efforts to assist Israel’s drive for peace.
As of this point there is no evidence the current policy of refusing to enter into negotiations with Hamas has resulted in improving chances for peace. Jimmy Carter has been accused by many Jews of being anti-semitic. The bottom line is he is the only American president who ever helped Israel achieve peace with a neighbor. Contrast his achievements with those of George Bush who has created chaos in the Middle East