No Hugging Hamas on Thursday As Jimmy Carter Cancels Gaza Trip

With no official reason given, Carter cancels trip to Gaza after both Israel’s President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu refused to meet him.

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

 

Former US president Jimmy Carter called off his visit to the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources on Wednesday. No reason for the cancellation was given.

Former US President Carter met Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza in 2009

Carter was scheduled to arrive on April 30 in Gaza to meet with Hamas leaders, and then with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to help mediate between the two factions’ stalled national reconciliation. The status of Carter’s visit to the West Bank is still unknown and so far has not been cancelled.

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Originally, the trip to the region was meant to include visits to both Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. However, on April 20, President Reuven Rivlin said he would refuse to meet with Carter due to his stances seen as “anti-Israel.”

In recent years, Carter has become one of the most prominent critics of Israel, notably when during last summer’s war with Hamas he denounced the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge, calling it illegitimate.

An Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post‘s Hebrew sister publication Ma’ariv that the Foreign Ministry recommended Rivlin not meet with Carter, in order to transmit the message that those who harm Israel will not meet with the president.

Carter has criticized successive US administrations for failing to clinch an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He has advocated controversial positions, chief among them that the West should engage Hamas in diplomatic negotiations.

Dana Somberg/Ma’ariv Hashavua and Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.
View original The Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Jimmy-Carter-cancels-Thursday-visit-to-Gaza-400591

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