Former President Jimmy Carter, predictably, is being denounced for meeting with the exiled leader of Hamas in Syria on Friday.
Carter's critics are wrong. Talking to Hamas, which won the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, is a necessary part of creating peace. As Carter himself said, "There's no doubt in anyone's mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, that Hamas will have to be included in the process."
Please sign our petition -- co-sponsored by A Just Foreign Policy -- to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain asking them to support former President Carter and support talks with Hamas:
Jimmy Carter knows that, according to Haaretz, 64% of Israelis have said they want their government to talk with Hamas about a cease-fire.[A] He knows that after Hamas won the January 2006 elections, it was willing to declare a ceasefire and allow President Abbas to negotiate with Israel on behalf of all Palestinians.[B]
Jimmy Carter knows that the blockade of Gaza being carried out by Israel, the U.S., and Egypt has actually strengthened Hamas in Gaza,[C] as 90 percent of Gaza's factories have closed and many former employees are now working for Hamas.
Jimmy Carter knows that Efraim Halevy, former head of Israel's Mossad, has called for Israel to negotiate with Hamas.[D] He knows that before the Annapolis conference, a bipartisan group of U.S. foreign-policy experts, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, sent a letter to President Bush and Secretary Rice saying that "genuine dialogue" with Hamas is "far preferable to its isolation."[E]
Indeed, he knows that the U.S. has encouraged Egypt to talk to Hamas about negotiating a cease-fire.[F] How can it be a scandal for Jimmy Carter to talk to Hamas, but not for Egypt to talk to Hamas at U.S. direction?
If the United States truly wants a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians - as opposed to just pretending that it wants one - it must deal with Hamas.
Please sign the petition now.
Sydney, Cecilie, Rachel, Rebecca, and Jean
Jewish Voice for Peace
[A]. "Poll: Most Israelis back direct talks with Hamas on Shalit," Yossi Verter, Haaretz, February 27, 2008
[B]. "Carter Defends Plan to Meet Hamas Despite Israel Criticism," Agence France Press, April 13, 2008
[C]. "Gaza's Unemployed Have Handouts or Hamas," Griff Witte, Washington Post, April 13, 2008
[D]. "Ex-Mossad chief wants Israel to talk to Hamas," Michel Hoebink, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, February 21, 2008
[E]. "Bipartisan Foreign Policy Leaders on Annapolis Conference," Daniel Levy, Prospects for Peace, October 10, 2007
[F]. "Brushoff for Carter Over Plans for Hamas Meeting," Griff Witte, Washington Post, April 15, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
From Jewish Voice for Peace: