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There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute…

… but a sucker like Jimmy Carter comes along only once or twice in a century.

There was lots not to like in Carter’s interview with Wolf Blitzer today, but let’s just focus on his version of events in the Middle East:

BLITZER: Let’s talk about foreign policy, a very sensitive issue: Your recent trip to the Middle East, your decision to meet with Hamas, a group the U.S. government brands a terrorist organization.

President Bush was asked about it at his news conference. And here’s what he said. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Foreign policy and peace is undermined by Hamas in the Middle East. They’re the ones who are undermining peace. They’re the ones whose foreign policy objective is the destruction of Israel. They’re the ones who are, you know, trying to create enough violence to stop the advance of the two-party state solution.

They are a significant problem to world peace, or Middle Eastern peace. And that’s the reason I’m not talking to them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: He was specifically asked about your decision to talk to them. Do you want to respond to what you just heard?

CARTER: Well, he’s completely mistaken. It’s obvious that he doesn’t know the policy of Hamas.

And I think that, since I met with them, I can very well say that — and I’ve talked to Hamas a number of times…

This is truly breathtaking. President Bush “doesn’t know the policy of Hamas,” apparently with regard to the destruction of Israel and the desirability of peace in the region. Let’s not take President Bush’s word for it; let’s go straight to the source: the Covenant of Hamas. From the Preamble:

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.

Article 11:

The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.

Article 13:

Palestine is an Islamic land… Since this is the case, the Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be.

Article 15:

The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews’ usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.

Article 13:

[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels as arbitrators in the lands of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.

Article 32:

Egypt was, to a great extent, removed from the circle of struggle [against Zionism] through the treacherous Camp David Agreement. The Zionists are trying to draw other Arab countries into similar agreements in order to bring them outside the circle of struggle. …Leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism is high treason, and cursed be he who perpetrates such an act.

Article 7, which I believe comes directly from the Koran:

The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’

You get the picture. Yet Jimmy Carter thinks that President Bush is “completely mistaken” in calling Hamas a terrorist organization that tries to subvert peace. The dialogue continues:

BLITZER: Well, he says they’re committed to the destruction of Israel.

CARTER: Well, I asked them about this. And that was one of the major requests or suggestions that I made to Hamas — I made five or six of them.

They brought all of their leadership together, from Gaza and also from within Damascus. And they spent all night Saturday and all Sunday considering the proposals that I made to them. And they gave me a response to all my proposals Sunday night by telephone.

One of the things I asked them to do was to agree to accept any peace contract between Israel and the Palestinians with Mahmoud Abbas being the representative of the Palestinians, provided it was approved by the Palestinians in a referendum, even if Hamas agreed with it…

BLITZER: Did they say they would accept…

CARTER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: … Israel living alongside Palestine…

CARTER: Absolutely, they said they would accept that.

BLITZER: … a Jewish state of Israel?

CARTER: That’s correct. Absolutely…

That would be a scoop, I guess. Only someone forgot to tell Hamas:

BLITZER: Because they haven’t made that statement public. And that may have been — the criticism is they may have said that to you, but they’re not telling their own people that.

It’s one thing to say to a former president, yes, we’ll do that…

CARTER: Right.

BLITZER: … but it’s another thing to say they’re ready for what is called a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living alongside each other.

CARTER: Well, you seem to be able to speak far more than I do…

BLITZER: Well, I… CARTER: Just met with them….

BLITZER: Yes. Well, what they’re saying publicly…

CARTER: I know what they told me. And, since then, there have been spokespersons for Hamas who disputed what I just said.

BLITZER: That’s what I mean.

As we noted here, Carter had no sooner announced that Hamas’s leaders had indicated their willingness to recognize Israel, than those same leaders told al Jazeera that Carter was wrong. How did Carter react to being reminded of this inconvenient history?

CARTER: But they are not the leaders. I met with the top leaders of Hamas, the president and all of the leaders in the Politburo. They gave me their commitment. And they have reconfirmed that commitment since they authorized me to make it publicly, which I did in Israel.

As so often happens, Carter was just making it up. Blitzer wasn’t equipped to challenge him, but in fact, the Hamas official who contradicted Carter was none other than Khaled Meshal, who is generally acknowledged to be Hamas’s top leader, and was the individual with whom Carter met in Damascus:

[A]t a later press conference in Damascus, Mr. Mashaal backed away from the concession announced by Mr. Carter.

“We accept a state on the [1967] line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees, but without recognizing Israel,” Al Jazeera quoted him as saying.

One might have expected Carter to be annoyed at being thus double-crossed by Mashal and Hamas–assuming that he truthfully related the substance of his conversation with Mashal and the other Hamas leaders, which I doubt–but for Carter, there is only one source of perfidy in the Middle East–Israel:

CARTER: I also asked them to agree to a cease-fire, in Gaza alone. Because they had always insisted that they would only have a cease- fire in Gaza and the West Bank combined, which Israel objected to doing.

So they came back a day after I left Israel and they said, we will accept a cease-fire, mutual cease-fire with Israel, just on Gaza alone.

And Israel rejected that proposal, so there is no cease-fire, and the conflict goes on.

I leave it to psychiatrists to decipher the causes of Carter’s loyalty to Arab terrorists and the sources of his hostility to Israelis. For the moment, we can conclude that it is not President Bush who is “completely mistaken” about the aims of Hamas.

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