Carter condemns Gaza blockade and urges talks with Hamas

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EX-US president Jimmy Carter, who negotiated the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, yesterday called the Israeli blockade of Gaza ‘a crime’ and said that all of the attempts to undermine Hamas have proved to be counter-productive.

Carter was speaking in Cairo. When he arrived in Israel, the Israeli leadership refused to meet with him, or even to allow him into Gaza.

Carter, called the blockade of Gaza a crime and an atrocity and stated that Palestinians in Gaza were being ‘starved to death’, receiving fewer calories a day than people in the poorest parts of Africa.

He added: ‘It’s an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It’s a crime. I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on.’

Israel, in fact, has refused to accept Hamas’ proposals for a truce including an offer to end rocket attacks on Israel, if Israel ends its attacks on Hamas personnel in Gaza and the West Bank.

Carter stated that current US policy was to try to make the quality of life in Gaza markedly worse than in the West Bank, so as to boost the rival Fatah group, which is currently led by Abbas, and which the US thinks it can negotiate with to Israel’s advantage.

Carter’s verdict is: ‘I think politically speaking this has worked to strengthen the popularity of Hamas to the detriment of the popularity of Fatah.’

Carter continued that ‘One of the reasons I wanted to come and meet with the Syrians and Hamas was to set an example that might be emulated by others. I know that there are some officials in the Israeli government that are quite willing to meet with Hamas and maybe that will happen in the near future.’

Carter’s talks in Cairo were with former Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar who had to come to Cairo for the meeting after the Israeli authorities refused to let Carter into Gaza from the Israeli side.

Carter has already met a West Bank leader from Hamas and is due to meet the overall Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal in Damascus.

He has already had a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In 1978 Carter, when president, was able to negotiate the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, under which Israel withdrew completely from the Sinai peninsula which it had occupied as a result of its victory in the 1967 Six-Day war.

Carter was only able to do this after Israel and the United States experienced the shock of the Yom Kippur war, which exploded the myth of Israeli military invincibility.

This was when tens of thousands of Egyptian troops equipped with up-to-date Soviet anti-aircraft missiles and tanks crossed the Suez Canal on the day that many Israeli troops were on leave or praying, and Israeli intelligence was asleep convinced that Egypt would not dare to attack.

They were caught by surprise when the Egyptian army not only crossed the Suez Canal but also smashed through the alleged impregnable Bar Lev Line, killing large numbers of Israeli troops and destroying large numbers of Israeli tanks and planes.

It was this shock that created the opportunity for President Carter to play the peacemaker.

After the recent defeat of the Israeli army and government in southern Lebanon and the defeat of the US-Israeli campaign to remove and defeat Hamas, Carter seems to think that the Zionist entity needs his support once again, and that with the prospect of a more radical Democratic president after next November, his time has come again.

It seems he is a little premature. However, the Arab masses are rising, as the struggle of the workers of Egypt and Jordan against huge price rises show. Their struggle will enormously strengthen the Palestinian masses and the fight for their state, as will the withdrawal of US and UK troops from Iraq.

Revolution is on the rise in the Middle East. The next time that the Zionists call on Carter – and even someone like Obama – it may well be too late.