Jimmy Carter, the former President of the late 1970’s, left a really bitter taste in the mouths of most Americans. Even as a child, I remember sitting in a long line at a gas station for what seemed like hours to fill up our tank, I remember him speaking from the White House with a sweater on (in front a fireplace, if I remember correctly), telling us we all needed to lower the thermostats in our homes to 68 degrees. Imagine that, he’s done it again – he’s left that old familiar Jimmy Carter sour taste!
In an op-ed piece last week in Foreign Policy, he and fellow writer, Mary Robinson, wrote a disparaging piece more about the Israelis, than Hamas and the Palestinians who are suffering because of them. In it, they excoriated the Israelis for “obstructing” the peace process (what peace process?), for their incursion into Gaza, for the shelling of leadership and strategic offensive positions in and of Hamas, and for the shelling of rocket and weapon caches, as well as the vast concrete tunnels Hamas used to terrorize innocent Israelis. They write:
“Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begins to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons.”
What? Since when has a terrorist organization that uses women and children as human shields been considered a legitimate “political actor”? The majority of people in Palestine are not represented by Hamas. There are no “incentives” that will stop radical Israeli hating jihadists from being who they are…period. Hamas should lay down their weapons first, and Israel will not feel the need defend itself against the attacks, but they won’t because the struggle between the two is ideological and has been since the days of the Old Testament.
“This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles…nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza. “
“Deliberate obstruction”? What do they call unprovoked rocket attacks by Hamas on civilians even in the midst of this “major concession by Hamas” and reconciliation agreement? Hamas has never and will never “recognize” Israel’s right to exist. When did the PLO-Hamas practice “nonviolence” in the increasing attacks that started in January and culminated with the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens (one of them an America) in May. Again, when did they ever adhere to the “past agreements” in the attacks in the weeks and months preceding this current round of fighting?
“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable.However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children.
This last statement was so wrong on so many levels. First, Israel did not retaliate for months while they were being indiscriminately targeted with hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza. It started slowly – first it was a few monthly, then weekly, and finally daily, multiple attacks. Secondly, Hamas is guilty, not Israel, of the deaths of a many of the Palestinians for using UN schools and civilian hospitals as weapons and rocket caches, and even firing rockets from a Palestinian hospital. Thirdly, Israel attempted to warn the innocent residents of Gaza of incoming fire by dropping leaflets and harmless rounds before a major strike. So what, pray tell, “war crimes” did Israel commit?
Of course the deaths were fewer in Israel. They developed a sophisticated strategic defense system, some of it funded with the help of aid from the United States. Meanwhile the Palestinians squandered their foreign aid, giving much of it to Hamas which used it, not on infrastructure, not on the Palestinian people as they were required to do, but rather to build the vast, deep concrete tunnels used to attack Israel. It is also because, as one Hamas terrorist said, “Their God changes the path of our rockets.”
Frankly, it was such an appalling read and so devoid of the realities of the situation in which Israel and their Palestinian neighbors find themselves, that I couldn’t stand to read any more of it. Hamas couldn’t have written a better op-ed piece.
Perhaps Jimmy Carter should remove himself from the political thought process altogether, because like his first go round, he’s just not very good at it. Perhaps, he should stick to working with Habitat for Humanity building homes for the needy. At least, it seems, that is something he can do without causing that sour after taste in the mouths of most Americans.