Friday, April 18, 2008

Israel Doesn’t Want to Know Carter Any More

by Peter Hirschberg

JERUSALEM - Three decades after he brokered the first-ever peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has become persona non grata in the Jewish state.0417 06

Both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak refused to meet with him during his four-day visit here. So did former prime minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Carter of holding “anti-Israel views in recent years.”

In a highly irregular move, Israel’s Shin Bet security service refused to assist U.S. agents guarding Carter. The Shin Bet, which is overseen by Olmert’s office, is routinely involved in assisting with the protection of visiting dignitaries.

Israeli leaders are furious over the former president’s plans to meet with Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal during his trip to Syria this week. Some Israeli politicians have called Carter’s readiness to meet with an organisation whose founding charter calls for Israel’s destruction and which has carried out most of the suicide attacks and rocket attacks on Israel a “legitimisation of terror.”

Continued . . .

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