Former President Jimmy Carter dramatically reassured a packed crowd of diplomats and reporters that Hamas had asked him to communicate to the people of Israel that Hamas would now recognize the Jewish state and live at peace with Israel if a peace agreement were to assure that the Palestinian state would be established only in the areas taken by Israel in the 1967 war.
Mr. Carter made his statement at the Israel Council of Foreign Relations at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem yesterday following his extensive visits with Hamas leaders in Gaza, Egypt and Syria.
Two hours after Mr. Carter’s speech was broadcast on Israel radio, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who had held extensive meetings with Mr. Carter in Damascus, denied any such assurance. Mr. Mashaal had overseen Mr. Carter’s talks with other Hamas leaders in Egypt and in Gaza. Mr. Mashaal once again reaffirmed the Hamas commitment to eliminate the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, a Michigan congressman proposed a cut of all federal funding for the former president’s Carter Center because of his current trip to meet with leaders of terrorist organizations.
The Coordinated American Response to Extreme Radicals (CARTER) Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (D-Mich.), would prevent any further federal aid to finance discussions and negotiations with terrorist groups, according to Mr. Knollenberg.
Also, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) called upon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to revoke Mr. Carter’s passport. Since 1995, Hamas has officially been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization, or “FTO.”
“Former President Carter has acted in contradiction of international agreements to isolate Hamas,” said Rep. Myrick, deputy Republican whip in the House. “He has acted in defiance of both United States policy and international policy.”
Palestinian Suicide Attack on Gaza Border
Three explosive-laden vehicles approached the Kerem Shalom central humanitarian crossing yesterday through which approximately 200 humanitarian aid trucks enter per week.
Palestinian terrorists triggered the explosives in two of the vehicles, their attempts to detonate the third vehicle foiled. The attack wounded 13 Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers; four terrorists were killed in the incident. The bombing attack was combined with a barrage of 15 mortar shells fired at the area.
Later in the day, a fourth booby-trapped vehicle approached the security fence near Kibbutz Nirim. An alert IDF soldier detonated the vehicle before it caused any damage.
The terrorists planned to execute a wider attack, possibly kidnapping IDF soldiers.
The head of IDF Southern Command, Major General Yoav Galant, stated that “we haven’t seen such attacks since the Disengagement in 2005, so well coordinated and synchronized across the Gaza Strip, aimed at mass killing and the kidnapping of soldiers into Gaza by armored vehicles, attempting to ruin the Passover holiday and casting a grave shadow on celebrations of Israel’s 60th anniversary.”
Last Thursday, a Palestinian militant’s attempt to infiltrate Kerem Shalom was thwarted by IDF soldiers. Despite the incident, 48 humanitarian trucks of medical equipment and food products were transferred into Gaza through Kerem Shalom junction the next day.
“Hamas is exploiting the compassion and generosity of the state of Israel by targeting humanitarian crossings. This is a deliberate attack against aiding the Palestinian population,” Maj. Gen. Galant added.
Sderot Child Wounded by Gaza Missile
Gazans fired missiles throughout the Western Negev on Monday afternoon
Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week declared that he would bring about a halt to the missile attacks. However, the IDF has not carried out any counter-terrorist offensives except for targeting or arresting “ticking bombs.”
Gazans also fired a missile salvo at the Israeli town of Sderot again on Monday afternoon.
Shrapnel landed in a family yard and hit a nearby car, hitting a three-year-old child in the shoulder, causing extensive bleeding.
The boy’s father, Ilan Arad, told Israeli radio reporters that the missile landed exactly as the family was returning from a trip to the north. They were in their car when the missile struck. Family members did not have time to run for shelter upon hearing the “Color Red” siren.
©The Bulletin 2008