What kind of world leader would instruct the international community to engage with Hamas, even though it just committed an armed insurrection against the Palestinian Authority? Who among the world's experts would argue that the coup d'etat legitimized their claim to speak for the Palestinian people? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Bashar Assad?
The United States, Israel and the European Union must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, or they will doom the Palestinian people to deepening conflict between the rival movements, former US President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.
Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was addressing a conference of Irish human rights officials, said the Bush administration's refusal to accept the 2006 election victory of Hamas was "criminal."
Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas fighters routed Fatah in their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week. The split prompted Abbas to dissolve the power-sharing government with his rivals in Hamas and set up a Fatah-led administration to govern the West Bank.
So let's get this straight. Bush's refusal to engage with a terrorist group -- one that has long been on the State Department list of outlawed terrorist organizations -- is "criminal". Wouldn't it literally have been a criminal act to engage with Hamas? Federal law prohibits such direct contacts and the transmission of aid to terrorist groups such as Hamas.
Even more ridiculous, Carter feels that we should applaud the organizational skills of a terrorist group that just murdered its way to the top of the Gaza power structure. He applauds their "superior skills and discipline," while turning a blind eye to the ways in which they apply them. Rather than scold them for using violence to achieve their political goals, Carter wants the global community to welcome and reward them for it.
Carter started his post-presidential period as a model for retired politicians and statesmen. Had he stayed retired and focused on building homes for the poor, he would have gone some way towards mitigating his feckless presidency. Instead, Carter has become an apologist for terrorists -- and in this case, a cheerleader for them. Carter has embarrassed his nation and solidified his status as the appeaser-in-chief who coddled radical Islam at its birth, and seems determined to midwife it at every successive turn.
UPDATE: These are the people that Carter champions:
Hundreds of terrified Gazans fleeing Hamas rule were trapped at a main crossing with Israel on Tuesday, hoping to gain permission to pass through Israeli territory to sanctuary in the West Bank.
Fearing death or persecution, Gazans flocked to the Erez passage after Hamas militants wrested control of the coastal strip from Fatah security forces last week. Israel, which has no interest in letting masses of Gazans pass through its territory and possibly destabilize the quieter West Bank, has refused to let most of them in, saying their lives were not in danger. ...
On Monday, gunmen allied with Hamas disguised themselves as fleeing civilians and hurled hand grenades at Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at Erez, killing a relative of a slain Fatah warlord, and injuring 15 other Palestinians.
But they organized the attack so well! They showed superior skills and discipline in murdering civilians and engaging in terrorism! Jimmy Carter must have been so proud ...
UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin has a roundup, called Jimmy Carter Said What? Part 999, which puts it neatly in perspective. John Hinderaker loves the notion that the US has been "criminal" for its refusal to fund a terrorist group, but Carter can't bring himself to mention the real crimes of Hamas.