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Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson demand recognition of Hamas

Former President Jimmy Carter
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Former American President Jimmy Carter and former Irish President Mary Robinson have published their own prescription for ending the Israeli/Hamas conflict in Gaza in a Monday piece in Foreign Policy. The core of their suggestion is that Israel must be forced to recognize Hamas, an organization whose sole purpose is the eradication of all Jews in the Middle East and even the killing of Jews outside the region, as a “legitimate political actor.” The article also lays the blame for the conflict and its carnage for the most part on Israel.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.”

There is some perfunctory language of how both sides are guilty of “war crimes.” A brief mention is made of Hamas’ rocket bombardment of Israel, largely blunted by its Iron Dome missile defense network. No mention is made of Hamas’ practice of using noncombatants as human shields, which many consider the true reason for the carnage taking place in Gaza.

Among the demands the two former presidents make on Israel is that the Jewish state immediately lift its blockade of Gaza, which was imposed because of arms shipments to that territory. There is some verbiage of international monitors and “strict measures” to prevent further arms shipments. Finally the two former president demanded that full freedom of movement be given to people and goods to and from Gaza with Israel, Egypt, and the sea. There is no mention in the article about the use of infiltration tunnels by Hamas to wreck death and mayhem in Israel.

Jimmy Carter is well known for having forged the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt, a unique success in what was otherwise a failed presidency. He has since turned harshly critical of Israel, even going so far as to publish a book entitled “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” that many observers thought resurrected the old “Zionism is racism” trope. It was thought to contain numerous errors and misstatement of facts according to Kenneth W. Stein, a professor at Emory University, who was moved to resign from the Carter Center as a result of the book.

Mary Robinson has been an even harsher critic, some would say enemy of Israel. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton noted that she was the secretary general of the infamous 2001 “World Conference Against Racism” in Durban, South Africa which was characterized by its anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic for its attempt to include an assertion that “Zionism is racism” in its resolution. Both the United States and Israel were obliged to walk out of the conference. Nevertheless Robinson was awarded a Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.