Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jimmy Carter Or The EU--Choose Your Poison (Updated)

Jimmy Carter was in the Middle East again, and as expected went to Gaza to pay his respects to Hamas:
Mr Carter held three hours of talks with Ismail Haniyeh, the de facto Prime Minister of Hamas-controlled Gaza, and other senior figures in the Palestinian movement yesterday after issuing a ringing appeal for an end to the two-year blockade which, he said, had treated Gaza's 1.5 million people "more like animals than human beings".
Elder of Ziyon has a post with some pictures to illustrate just how little Carter actually knows about Gaza.

I suppose we should just be thankful that Carter still wants to stick with the the '3 preconditions':
Earlier, at a UN Relief and Works Agency event north of Gaza City, Mr Carter – who has campaigned for peace in the Middle East since he brokered the talks which led to the 1978 treaty between Egypt and Israel – said he had urged Hamas to accept the three conditions, reiterated by Mr Obama in Cairo a fortnight ago, of recognising Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by previous agreements.
Of course, recognizing Israel will not entail recognizing it as a Jewish state.
The other 2 conditions are also open to (re)interpretation.
And let's not forget that Hamas has 2 leaders--one in Gaza and one in Damascus.

Carter didn't forget either:
Mr Carter said the Damascus-based Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, had told him he would accept an agreement with Israel for a Palestinian state, negotiated by the moderate Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, if it was approved in a referendum. Mr Carter insisted that the Arab Peace Initiative – which offers pan-Arab recognition in return for a Palestinian state on 1967 borders – was now being "considered on all sides".
Maybe we should wait a few days first to give Meshal time to deny the report.
In any case, we see once again that the Saudi Peace initiative that Obama denied last year he was considering, is serving as the framework for the peace deal he is aiming for [see history here].

And yet with all of that, the EU has decided to go one step further than Carter in dealing with Hamas:
In what is perceived in Jerusalem as a mistaken effort to give Hamas room to maneuver, the EU's 27 foreign ministers, in a statement issued Monday, did not call, as in the past, for Hamas to forswear terrorism, recognize Israel or accept previous PLO agreements with Israel.

Government sources in Jerusalem said France led the efforts to keep what has become known as the Quartet's three conditions on Hamas from being included in the European Council's conclusions on the Middle East peace process.
Remember when Sarkozy was considered a good friend of Israel?
And what is the reason for the EU's largesse?
According to diplomatic sources, the French were trying to give Hamas "a way out," and felt that if the conditions were not always mentioned every statement, it might give the Islamist organization a chance to soften its positions and perhaps give a boost to Egyptian-brokered talks between Fatah and Hamas.

The European foreign ministers issued another statement regarding Israel on Tuesday, this one following the EU Association meeting the day before with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which they essentially said the decision from last year to upgrade ties with Israel would remain in place, but that no steps toward implementing it would be taken at this point.
Go figure: the EU is trying to give Hamas a way out, but will not allow Israel a way in.

One of the things standing in the way of making the two state solution is the enmity between Hamas and Fatah. Abbas--and apparently the EU--will do whatever it takes to bridge that divide. They will be so happy to hear that Carter has made progress on that score.

Meanwhile, how long before the US also drops the 3 preconditions?

UPDATE: Oops! It looks like Carter wasn't finished once he left the Middle East:
The Obama Administration should remove Hamas from the terrorist list, former President Jimmy Carter told media following his visit to Gaza today. He said he plans on pushing for the change when he meets with U.S. officials on Thursday to discuss his latest trip to the Middle East.
I thought that Carter had been outdone by the EU.

I was wrong.

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