Jimmy Carter urges recognition of Hamas as legitimate ‘political actor’

Jimmy Carter in conversation at the LBJ Library on February 15, 2011. Credit: U.S. National Archives.

(JNS.org) The United States and the European Union should recognize that the Hamas terrorist organization “is not just a military but also a political force,” former U.S. president Jimmy Carter wrote in article published by Foreign Policy magazine on Tuesday.

“Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor—one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people—can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” Carter stated in an opinion piece co-written with former Irish president Mary Robinson.

While the authors acknowledged Hamas’s “indiscriminate targeting” of Israelis, they focused their criticism on Israel with regards to the latest conflict in Gaza.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israel Defense Forces are conducting this war,” they wrote. “Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals.”

Carter has been criticized by many in the Jewish community for his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” which criticizes Israel’s presence in the West Bank. Carter has also been criticized for meeting with Hamas officials and calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

Posted on August 6, 2014 .