So, Jimmy Carter's shilling for Hamas again (No Gaza, No Peace: A lasting settlement in the Holy Land is still possible. But Israel must end the siege on Gaza first, Foreign Policy, May 14, 2015). And this time with former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, another of his grandiosely self-named Elders group. Brundtland joins other Elders, like Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, with whom Carter periodically pens Middle East revisionism.
Carter sang the same off-key tunethe Palestinian Arabs' woes are Israel's faultwith Robinson in Foreign Policy last August. Then he called Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group busy firing more than 4,500 mortars and rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel, a legitimate political actor representing a Palestinian majority. To Carter's urging that the West reward Hamas' aggression with recognition, former U.S. Arab-Israeli negotiator Aaron David Miller replied that would undermine the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, alienate Israel and anger Egypt.
Determined to find light at the end of the Hamas-Fatah unity tunnel, Carter has attempted to elevate Hamas into an internationally accepted player for many years
(see, for example, Washington Post
Allows Carter to Shill for Hamas, CAMERA, May 4, 2011). This despite the terrorist organization's refusal to meet the requirements established by the quartet of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia: cease terrorism, recognize Israel and agree to uphold previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Now Carter and Brundtland imagine
that Israel's continued and deliberate policy of besieging Gaza and enforcing its separation from the West Bank means conflict could break out again. (If necessary at Foreign Policy
Web site, search Jimmy Carter to find this commentary.) No, Hamas' reconstruction of terrorist infiltration tunnels into Israel, attempts to rearm and continued calls, as in its charter, for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jewish people mean Hamas is intent on renewing the conflict. It hopes, apparently with reason, that Western dupes like Carter and other Elders will blame Israel again. Such intent by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and similar political actors necessitates continuance of Israel's partial blockade.
The two Elders claim Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a lot to do to convince domestic and foreign audiences that he has a credible desire and vision for peace. Actually, the guidelines of the new Israeli cabinet that Carter dismisses, presented before his latest Op-Ed, emphasized both the Jewish people's undisputable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel and intent to strive to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and all our neighbors.
Carter and Brundtland insist the situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after the end of last summer's war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt. People cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Carter's 'new clothes' knitted of whole cloth
But they avoid saying why. We need not rely on limelight-seeking formers, however, to understand what makes Gaza's misery intractable. Two days prior to the Carter-Brundtland piece, Associated Press reported that the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights' 2014 survey found that hundreds had been tortured by Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip and by Fatah minions on the West Bank, peaceful gatherings suppressed. In other words, housinglet alone respect and dignityfor ordinary Gazans and West Bankers is not their leaders' priority. Maintaining their rule uncontested is.
Despite Hamas' oft-demonstrated disinterest, Carter and Brundtland flog a Palestinian national unity government. They also pretend Abbas wants to hold long-overdue elections he and his Fatah movement would likely lose. Amid 20 long paragraphs largely devoid of cause-and-effect, the pair claims a complete paradigm shift is essential. This demands the lifting of the siege and an end to Israel's policy of separating the West Bank and Gaza
When Carter promoted a Hamas-Fatah technocratic unity government in a 2011 Washington Post Op-Ed, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) responded that the one-term former president was na´ve, at best.
In fact, it already seems clear that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the most successful and competent technocrat in the Palestinian government, will be removed by this deal. Though that bid for Palestinian unity also failed, Fayyad is long gone, sacrificed to Hamas' rejectionism and Fatah's indifference.
A paradigm shift is needed, all right. It would begin with Carter and his co-authors no longer blaming Israel for the absence of a two-state solution including a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem Palestine. Instead, they would ask themselves why Palestinian leadership rejected such a deal when proposed by the United States and Israel in 2000 (and launched the second intifada instead), the United States and Israel again in 2001, Israel alone in 2008 and the United States with Secretary of State John Kerry's framework in 2014.
Until then, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, USA Today, and other current or past willing platforms, could elevate public discussion of Arab-Israeli issues by sparing us any more such wisdom from our Elders.