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Jimmy Carter, writing in the International Herald-Tribune, demonstrates the knack for foreign relations that got us the Iranian hostage crisis and limited him to a single, embarrassing term in office. He argues that the suspension of foreign aid to the Palestinians not only hurts innocent citizens but damages prospects for peace by failing to fund terrorists:
Innocent Palestinian people are being treated like animals, with the presumption that they are guilty of some crime. Because they voted for candidates who are members of Hamas, the United States government has become the driving force behind an apparently effective scheme of depriving the general public of income, access to the outside world and the necessities of life.
Overwhelmingly, these are school teachers, nurses, social workers, police officers, farm families, shopkeepers, and their employees and families who are just hoping for a better life. Public opinion polls conducted after the January parliamentary election show that 80 percent of Palestinians still want a peace agreement with Israel based on the international road map premises. Although Fatah party members refused to join Hamas in a coalition government, nearly 70 percent of Palestinians continue to support Fatah's leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as their president. ...
With all their faults, Hamas leaders have continued to honor a temporary cease-fire, or hudna, during the past 18 months, and their spokesman told me that this "can be extended for two, 10 or even 50 years if the Israelis will reciprocate." Although Hamas leaders have refused to recognize the state of Israel while their territory is being occupied, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has expressed approval for peace talks between Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. He added that if these negotiations result in an agreement that can be accepted by Palestinians, then the Hamas position regarding Israel would be changed.
Regardless of these intricate and long-term political interrelationships, it is unconscionable for Israel, the United States and others under their influence to continue punishing the innocent and already persecuted people of Palestine. The Israelis are withholding approximately $55 million a month in taxes and customs duties that, without dispute, belong to the Palestinians. Although some Arab nations have allocated funds for humanitarian purposes to alleviate human suffering, the U.S. government is threatening the financial existence of any Jordanian or other bank that dares to transfer this assistance into Palestine.
It's almost impossble to excerpt this silliness; one has to read the entire essay to get a sense of Carter's capitulation on terror. However, we can at least make a couple of specific points about the former president's argument.
First, Carter uses the Arabic hudna completely without any sense of its context. A hudna has never been understood as a prelude to a lasting peace, but a temporary cease fire of no more than ten years that allows Muslims a chance to gain the upper hand against an enemy. At any time during a hudna the Muslims can end it without warning in order to destroy their infidel enemies. It is a term that arises from the Prophet himself, and has specific meaning and limits. The hudna proposed by Hamas in any case does not carry any promise of recognition for Israel; it appears Carter just made this up out of whole cloth. Perhaps the Hamas spokesman told this to Carter, as he alleges, but Hamas has yet to make this statement publicly -- and to commit to a permanent cease-fire.
Second, the $55 million in tax transfers that the Israelis continue to withhold only belong to the Palestinians as a consequence of the Oslo accords. Those taxes did not exist prior to those agreements, and the Palestinians have never fulfilled their end of the bargain. The Palestinian Authority, founded at Oslo, never disarmed the militias and terrorist groups, nor did they even attempt to do so. Hamas took office and promptly rejected all previous treaties with Israel, including Oslo, and refused to even recognize Israel's right to exist. Since they have explicitly rejected the treaty which produced the revenue in the first place, the money does not belong to the Palestinians. Furthermore, the Israelis have no moral or legal obligation to fund a group or protostate that refuses to recognize Israel and plots for its destruction.
Overall, the essay boggles the imagination. On one hand, Carter acknowledges that the Palestinian people voted to put a known Islamist terrorist group in charge of its protostate in free and fair elections, and in the same breath says that we should not treat that decision as legitimate. If the Palestinians want peace so badly, why did they elect terrorists to office? Just as with the Israelis, we have no obligation to fund Islamist terrorists, no matter who votes for them or how legitimately they do so. If the Palestinians cannot make decisions any better than this, our continued rescuing of them from the consequences of their actions will not teach them any differently.
People like Carter and James Wolfensohn seem to believe that we can buy peace by paying for terrorism. That explains a lot about the Carter presidency and the rise of Islamofascism. Carter once again proves that his ex-presidency only marginally improves on his presidency, but only in the sense that he has less power to keep affairs as screwed up as possible.Sphere It View blog reactions
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