11 April 2008

Carter to chat with Hamas

Jimmy Carter, once again manifesting a refreshing, if rather un-American, approach to Palestine, will meet with Hamas chief Khaled Meshal in Damascus next week. His government disapproves of the company he is keeping as it conflicts with their attempt to put Hamas beyond the pale. Carter's visit is, however, consistent with the views expressed in his book "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid."

He is not entirely alone among his countrymen in recognizing the common sense of at least talking to a major force in the region, particularly one that just happened to win the last Palestinian election. Increasingly, other Americans are beginning to see the wisdom in a dialogue with Hamas. Eminent persons such as former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft have stated the obvious, that it's better to talk to them than isolate them. And even the Bush Administration may not be quite as opposed as it seems. Apparently Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been in private discussions with Arab diplomats about the possibility of Egypt acting as an intermediary with Hamas.

Peace in Palestine depends heavily on Israel's protector, the United States, listening to all sides, not just Israel and tame Palestinians. And, given that Hamas is the elected representative of the Palestinian people, talking to them may even suggest the Americans take democracy seriously, not selectively.

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