TEL AVIV — Former President Jimmy Carter will receive the cold shoulder in Israel next week over his plan to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the Syrian capital during a tour of the Middle East.
Citing scheduling difficulties, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu turned down requests for meetings from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
“You draw your own conclusions,” said an Israeli official who declined to be identified. “Israeli officials have expressed outrage at the possibility that he'll meet Mashaal. ... He's the leader of a terrorist organization.”
And so Ehud Olmert proves that he does, in fact, have at least one working brain cell. But there's some more stuff buried later in the WashTimes report ...
Mr. Carter, who will stop in Israel before going to Syria, also is scheduled to visit Sderot, the Israeli border town that has been bombarded by missiles from Gaza.
Now that, I'd like to see. Because, somehow, I don't think old Jimmah's going to be too welcome in Sderot. We'll see. But then there's this ...
To be sure, Mr. Carter won't face a full-on boycott in Israel next week: he has meetings scheduled with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and even such right-wing politicians as parliament member Avigdor Lieberman and Trade Minister Eli Yishai.
A top lawmaker from the dovish Meretz party commended Mr. Carter for seeking the meeting, though doubted anything would come of it.
“Khaled Mashaal is the hardest nut in Hamas,” said Ran Cohen. “I don't think he is someone who it is possible to convince to give up his terrorist fanatical approach.”
“I want to strengthen Carter and not weaken him,” he added.
A Carter-Mashaal meeting would be the first public contact in two years between a prominent American figure and Hamas officials. In 2006, the Rev. Jesse Jackson met Mr. Mashaal during a visit to Syria.
Ok, well, which of the above politicians is actually in (theoretical) imminent danger of losing his job? Answer: the one who (exhibiting uncharacteristic perception) is allegedly refusing to meet with (arguably) America's Worst President Ever. That's in no way intended to excuse Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman or Eli Yishai, none of whom have far left to fall in my estimation. But fall they will if they disgrace themselves by giving Mr. Carter the time of day.
(Oh, and Jesse Jackson is "a prominent American figure?" Sez who?)