Monday, February 20, 2006


President Carter wants a Mideastern group hug

In the news today, Israel freezes funds that it collects on behalf of the Palestinians and former President Jimmy Carter is worried that perhaps the US and Israel might end up punishing innocent Palestinians. This is all tied in with Hamas taking over the Palestinian legislature.
Now, Hamas is generally recognized as a terrorist organization and their brand of terrorism is frequently directed toward Israel. So perhaps some of Israel’s reluctance to play nice with them can be understood. But the former president, writing an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post, is worried that the US and Israel, acting in concert, will only end up hurting the poor innocent Palestinians in the efforts to punish Hamas for their power grab..  
This very much concerns Mr. Carter: “This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.”
Shame on me, because I should be used to it by now, but such pablum from a former president still amazes me.
And how did Hamas happen to gain control of the Palestinian legislature? Well, this unfortunate occurrence is due, in no small part, to the fact that the Palestinian people themselves elected them. And we know it was a fair election because none other than former President Jimmy Carter monitored the elections and told us they were. The Palestinians were well aware of whom they were electing – we do not need to overly expand the meaning of the word “innocent”.  

So here we have Israel, apparently not wanting to help an organization dedicated to its ultimate destruction, making some moves that will impact the Palestinians in the wallet. The US, similarly, has “announced that all funding for the new government will be withheld, including what is needed to pay salaries for schoolteachers, nurses, social workers, police and maintenance personnel.”  (I’m fairly sure that’s not how the US announced the withholdings but I guess Mr. Carter knows a spiteful act when he sees it.)

President Carter is distraught that “[s]o far they have not agreed to bypass the Hamas-led government and let humanitarian funds be channeled to Palestinians through United Nations agencies responsible for refugees, health and other human services.” (Three words and then I’ll shut up: Oil-for-Food)
His conclusion? “It would not violate any political principles to at least give the Palestinians their own money; let humanitarian assistance continue through U.N. and private agencies; encourage Russia, Egypt and other nations to exert maximum influence on Hamas to moderate its negative policies; and support President Abbas in his efforts to ease tension, avoid violence and explore steps toward a lasting peace.”

….because, you know, that’s been working so far!

During Carter's presidency, many innocent Americans (i.e., ones who didn't vote for him) were harmed by foreign reaction to his policies. Big deal.

Worst. President. Ever.
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