President Jimmy Carter has defied Israel by meeting with a former minister in the Hamas government. The Hamas official was greeted by Carter with a hug and kisses to both cheeks. All the presidential candidates condemned Carter for his contact with Hamas. The White House also weighed in. The prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, refused to meet Carter because of his plans to meet Hamas’ top leader in Syria later this week.
Carter argues that in any final peace process the views of Hamas will have to be considered. After all Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza. Carter is not an official representative of the United States. He is in the Middle East as a private citizen. He wants to further the peace process. After all it was Carter who brokered Israel’s first peace treaty with an Arab neighbour, Egypt, signed in 1979.
Is there any reason why President Carter should not meet with officials of the democratically elected government of Gaza?