Carter on Hamas: Blame the US and Israel

Our former president Jimmy Carter placed himself back in the news this week by authoring an article in the Guardian.  Mr. Carter claims,

"The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world. An entire population is being brutally punished." 

The implication is that Israel and those who support Israel are the punishers of a beleaguered Palestinian people.  This is the premise that Mr. Carter works from: whatever entity is on the other side of the table from Israel is necessarily being oppressed.

Carter continues:

"This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers." 

To which my response is: so what?  Just because an election elevated a recognized terrorist organization to elected power of a state (or semi-state) does not in any way legitimize that terrorist organization.

Indeed, that the US stopped foreign aid to the Palestinians after the election was and is the correct thing to do.  The restoration of such aid, made clear in this State Department document, depends on Hamas

"renounce[ing], among other things, its commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel and the use of terrorist violence." 

But once again, that's too much for Mr. Carter to ask of the poor, besieged, Hamas led Palestinians.

Mr. Carter also bemoans that "Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the area," and claims that these attacks "[cause] high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children."  This, of course, totally ignores any and all attacks on Israel by Hamas.  It also totally ignores the Hamas charter position that the Israeli state must be destroyed.

What Mr. Carter fails to mention at all is that Palestinians are supposedly supported by many Arab countries; countries which, incidentally, fought against Israel time and time again.  Gaza does not border the sea and Israel only.  A quick peek at Google Maps shows a short (15 mile?) border with Egypt and a major crossing at Rafah.  If Arab countries are keen to help the Palestinians, aid should be pouring through that border.  To my knowledge, though, the border between Gaza and Egypt only opens sporadically and supposedly only to allow aid in and wounded out.  The problem is that weapons invariably find their way into the mix.  With that in mind, one has to believe that Egypt doesn't really want Hamas players freely crossing the border -- the predictable result being more Sinai bombings.

In the end, Mr. Carter's cries against Israel and the US as oppressors of Hamas and Gaza rings hollow.  If we are to take Mr. Carter at his word, then any and all elected governments deserve recognition, aid, and assistance.  We are not to mind the contradiction that the very government Mr. Carter would have us support, Hamas, seeks the destruction of a sovereign state, Israel.  We are also to believe that the US and Israel are solely responsible for the conditions within Gaza and the suffering of the Hamas-led people there.

To all this, I simply shake my head in disbelief.  If only Mr. Carter would slip finally, quietly into retirement.

Bob Myer blogs at mindofflapjack.blogspot.com/
Our former president Jimmy Carter placed himself back in the news this week by authoring an article in the Guardian.  Mr. Carter claims,

"The world is witnessing a terrible human rights crime in Gaza, where a million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world. An entire population is being brutally punished." 

The implication is that Israel and those who support Israel are the punishers of a beleaguered Palestinian people.  This is the premise that Mr. Carter works from: whatever entity is on the other side of the table from Israel is necessarily being oppressed.

Carter continues:

"This gross mistreatment of the Palestinians in Gaza was escalated dramatically by Israel, with United States backing, after political candidates representing Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006. The election was unanimously judged to be honest and fair by all international observers." 

To which my response is: so what?  Just because an election elevated a recognized terrorist organization to elected power of a state (or semi-state) does not in any way legitimize that terrorist organization.

Indeed, that the US stopped foreign aid to the Palestinians after the election was and is the correct thing to do.  The restoration of such aid, made clear in this State Department document, depends on Hamas

"renounce[ing], among other things, its commitment to the destruction of the state of Israel and the use of terrorist violence." 

But once again, that's too much for Mr. Carter to ask of the poor, besieged, Hamas led Palestinians.

Mr. Carter also bemoans that "Israeli bombs and missiles periodically strike the area," and claims that these attacks "[cause] high casualties among both militants and innocent women and children."  This, of course, totally ignores any and all attacks on Israel by Hamas.  It also totally ignores the Hamas charter position that the Israeli state must be destroyed.

What Mr. Carter fails to mention at all is that Palestinians are supposedly supported by many Arab countries; countries which, incidentally, fought against Israel time and time again.  Gaza does not border the sea and Israel only.  A quick peek at Google Maps shows a short (15 mile?) border with Egypt and a major crossing at Rafah.  If Arab countries are keen to help the Palestinians, aid should be pouring through that border.  To my knowledge, though, the border between Gaza and Egypt only opens sporadically and supposedly only to allow aid in and wounded out.  The problem is that weapons invariably find their way into the mix.  With that in mind, one has to believe that Egypt doesn't really want Hamas players freely crossing the border -- the predictable result being more Sinai bombings.

In the end, Mr. Carter's cries against Israel and the US as oppressors of Hamas and Gaza rings hollow.  If we are to take Mr. Carter at his word, then any and all elected governments deserve recognition, aid, and assistance.  We are not to mind the contradiction that the very government Mr. Carter would have us support, Hamas, seeks the destruction of a sovereign state, Israel.  We are also to believe that the US and Israel are solely responsible for the conditions within Gaza and the suffering of the Hamas-led people there.

To all this, I simply shake my head in disbelief.  If only Mr. Carter would slip finally, quietly into retirement.

Bob Myer blogs at mindofflapjack.blogspot.com/