Fox News is reporting an unconfirmed account that Palestinian militants allegedly linked to Al Qaeda attempted to assassinate Jimmy Carter on his visit to Gaza earlier this week. They interview an unnamed Gaza teenager (video) who claims to have witnessed the bombers plant the alleged bomb and who reported the crime to Hamas police who arrested the perpetrators. Haaretz also reports the story, crediting it to “a Palestinian source.” Hamas denies the story and the incident.
This report is grist for the anti-Palestinian mill. You see, Jimmy Carter, the most radical U.S. political leader when it comes to Israeli-Palestinian peace–even he can be assassinated by those crazy terrorists. How can we expect Israel to trust them when they even try to kill the peacemakers (crazy as people like Carter may be)? The unconfirmed claim that the bombers were affiliated with Al Qaeda also hammers another nail into the coffin of the possibility for Israeli-Palestinian peace: Al Qaeda has even infiltrated Palestine. No Arab country is safe from the scourge. That’s the line, anyway.
Carter went to the Middle East, traveling to Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. The N.Y. Times reports that Carter asked Hamas to to consider embracing positions that would enable it to come in from the diplomatic cold. Ismail Haniya made several productive, constructive statements on various subjects including Obama’s Cairo speech. Carter also bore a letter from Gilad Shalit’s parents to their kidnapped son.
It doesn’t appear there were any substantial breakthroughs. But the important thing is that there was discussion, there was contact. A serious American political leader was reaching out to Hamas (he also met with settlers in Gush Etzion) without becoming their mouthpiece.
Watching the FoxNews video, it appears an American reporter ambushed him with a question about removing Hamas from the U.S. terror list. He replied that he believed Hamas should be removed. From this, FoxNews has spun the following distorted report:
Former President Jimmy Carter will urge the Obama administration to remove Hamas from the terrorist list, FOX News has learned.
The video reveals nothing of the sort. Carter has merely expressed his personal opinion on the subject. From this a fantasy is made up out of whole cloth.
FoxNews reinforces this smear by describing the former president as: “Carter, a chief defender of the U.S.-designated terror group [Hamas]…” What can you expect from such scandal sheet journalism?
Unfortunately, the highly respected Foreign Policy blogger, Laura Rozen has amplified the FoxNews distortion. She’s written one of those “Loose Cannon” Carter stories about the guy who embarrasses Democrats with his wild-eyed pursuit of Quixote-like ambitions for peace and good will with terrorists around the world. She quotes former Aipac staffer Ira Forman with his typically toxic opinion of Carter. There may be reasons to criticize Jimmy Carter or be leery of some of his statement or activities. But I’d say basing such sentiment on FoxNews is a dangerous gamble given their journalistic integrity (or lack thereof).
Carter’s contacts with Arab enemies of Israel scare the hell out of the pro-Israel status quo crowd. What if the guy actually does persuade Hamas to moderate its principles? What if he does persuade Obama to open up a dialogue with Syria? What will that mean for Israel? Pressure. Compromise. Danger. That’s why they’re all out to Get Carter.
H/t Rob Browne.