Tuesday, January 27, 2009

News Flash: Carter's Friends In Hamas Can't Be Trusted

Powerline has Monday's transcript from Jimmy Carter's interview on The Today Show:
CARTER: By some, they are, and they've done some bad things. But for instance, the year before we had the cease-fire, that I helped to orchestrate last June, the 19th, there was one Israeli killed by rockets. And on an average, 49 Palestinians killed every month during that previous year. And as soon as the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas obeyed it completely. There was no serious rocket fire during the next four or five months.

...VIEIRA: Do you believe that Hamas can be trusted?

CARTER: Yes, I do. I think they can, because of their own self- interest, not because they're benevolent, or kind, or that sort of thing. But yes, I do. I think they can. And they've never betrayed any commitment that they've made to me, or publicly, as a matter of fact. ...

VIEIRA: But Hamas has said its goal is to destroy Israel. How can you involve them in a peace process when they said their goal is to destroy Israel? They don't recognize Israel.

CARTER: I'm not here to defend Hamas, but to tell you what they have pledged to me, and publicly: That if any agreement is negotiated between Fatah leaders and Israel, that Hamas will accept the agreement if it's submitted to the Palestinian people in a referendum. And that's a very good step forward. And I think they will do that because of their own self-interest.

And Hamas complied very thoroughly with the cease-fire agreement that I had worked out for the last June the 19th. For five months, there were no rockets fired until Israel did attack Gaza again on November 4th [for the facts, see here].
Today, following an attack by Hamas, an IDF soldier is dead. Should we follow Carter's logic and say that since there was "no serious rocket fire" (whatever that means), Hamas actually is keeping the ceasefire?
Less than a week after the IDF left Gaza, Hamas terrorists returned to “business as usual” with an attack on Israeli soldiers at the Kissufim crossing Tuesday morning in a new violation of the ceasefire that killed one soldier and wounded three others. The fallen soldier was a non-commissioned officer.

...Terrorists detonated the explosive device around 8:00 a.m. after they had planted along the security fence as an IDF soldiers' vehicle patrolled near the Kissufim crossing. The terrorists also fired a number of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at Israel.
Israel has responded by going back into Gaza. Let's hope that Ehud Barak is not echoing Carter when he says:
"We hit Hamas hard [in Operation Cast Lead], but that does not mean it will disappear," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak during a Tuesday morning visit to soldiers stationed near Gaza. "There will be attacks occasionally."
The fact is that now that Israel showed a willingness to act, any reluctance to respond to further attacks will be seen as a lack of resolve that will encourage Hamas, and lead them to claim victory.

Of course, the fact that Hamas is doing this will only make Netanyahu seem like the stronger candidate on security. Then there is George Mitchell's arrival tomorrow. Either this is Hamas' idea of a 21-gun salute or they want to demonstrate that they are entering any negotiations from a position of strength.

The bigger question is how far is Israel willing to go in reaction to Hamas's breaking of the ceasefire.

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