Carter, Hamas, Israel and The Truth
by Timothy Gatto, Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 08:19:22 AM EDT
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jimmy Carter. This is a man that has consistently tried to do what others in the political arena seem unable to do, and that is to live up to their own expectations, regardless of the political costs. His recent trip to the Middle-East was Carter at his finest. While he understood all to well that the compromised, immoral regimes of both Israel and Washington did not support his mission and were unlikely to approve anything that came out of his meetings with Hamas, he chose to go in order to illustrate to the world what these two governments are really about. I believe Carter was successful in illustrating that neither America nor Israel want to pursue a realistic solution for peace. If anything, his visit proved once again, that Israel seeks not peace, but capitulation.
The United States did not support the Carter trip and used the argument that negotiating with Hamas was a dead-end. Israel did not offer the former President extra security, even though he was traveling in dangerous territory. The fact that the Israeli leader Ehud Olmert did not even greet Carter when he arrived in Israel was inexcusable. Carter was the man that almost single-handedly brokered the peace between Egypt and Israel. The very least that Israel could have done was to treat Carter as a former head of state. Combining this with the fact that Israel is the largest recipient of foreign aid from the United States, and that Carter did more than any other President in history to help guarantee the security of that country, the way he was treated during his trip was not only inexcusable, but also detestable.
This leads me to wonder what the liberal/progressive community thought about Carter's trip. The mainstream press in this country gave it very little coverage. The liberal/progressive media on the internet also gave Carter's trip very little coverage, being more concerned with the dog and pony show that is the Democratic Primary race, than with peace in the Middle-East. I was waiting for sharp criticism from the left regarding the situation, especially the fact that Israel refused to negotiate with Hamas. The same pundits that decry the political decisions of the Bush Administration in their failure to enter into face to face negotiations with Iran, or with other nations they don't agree with, were silent on Israel's decision not to enter into negotiations with Hamas.
Israel seems to have a permanent pass from the liberal/progressive media regarding their refusal to negotiate with Hamas in much the same way that John McCain has a pass from the mainstream media on his reported "misquotes" and "gaffes" made on the campaign trail. The American people are the losers in this situation. Just as McCain should be exposed as an ignorant and misinformed man that isn't capable of independent thought, Israel should be exposed for its refusal to honestly seek peace by negotiating with its real enemies instead of the sham negotiations they hold with Fatah, an organization that by no means represents the views of a large part of the Palestinian people.
Carter, by visiting with the leaders of Hamas, clearly demonstrated that there is room to move about on negotiations with Israel's true enemy. He exposed the truth about Hamas when he relayed the proposal that a cease-fire would be welcomed by the Palestinian people. Carter also put forth the proposition agreed upon, that Hamas would accept Jerusalem as Israel's capitol city and that they would accept a two-state solution if Israel would return to its pre 1967 borders. One would believe that these proposals from a bastion of terror such as Hamas would be greeted with headlines all over the world. Sadly, neither the right nor the left chose to give it much significance. There were of course, articles written and placed on internet sites that often speak truth to power, but the large political liberal/progressive sites all but ignored Carter's trip.
I am concerned about the coverage that Israel gets in the L/P media. This is one area that right and left both seem to agree on. There are times when I shake my head in disbelief at the news coming out about Israel. While the Olmert government systematically destroys the Gaza Strip along with the men, women and children living there, the press hardly gives it a mention. I wrote an article asking the question "Do Americans Believe that the Palestinian People Have a Right to Exist?
http://liberalpro.blogspot.com/2008/03/d o-americans-believe-palestinians-have.ht ml
I received a number of different responses, but I was more than surprised when I received a few comments from Americans that vilified the Palestinian people, and comments from Israeli's that spoke out against the Israeli's harsh treatment of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Apparently, there are many Israeli's that feel their government is committing war crimes and has gone over the edge. I can sympathize with them on that particular point; our government isn't exactly a model for democracy either.
I feel that Carter did what he believed he had to do. History may see him as a weak, indecisive President, but I feel that history will also see him as the one President that did more after leaving office than any other. I can only hope that the concessions that he managed to get from Hamas will spur some serious dialogue between the two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The one thing that Carter did manage to do is to expose the Olmert government for what it is, and this is an extension of the Neo-Con movement residing in the Middle-East.