(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin declined requests for meetings with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who is scheduled to visit Israel and the disputed Palestinian territories in early May, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Monday.
The decision reportedly followed a recommendation by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that Carter, a harsh critic of Israel’s policies, be declared persona non grata in the Jewish state. The ministry recommended that no government official, on any level, meet with Carter. A foreign ministry official told the i24 news website that Israel’s National Security Council backed the foreign ministry’s recommendation.
Carter has repeatedly spoken out against Israeli policies concerning the Palestinian Authority, particularly in his 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” and took an ardent anti-Israel stance during last summer’s war in Gaza. He stated that there was “no justification in the world for what Israel is doing” during Operation Protective Edge and urged President Barack Obama to remove Hamas from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.