Carter Says "Don't Punish Palestine"
Thank God that the former nut farmer from Georgia is no longer in a postion of real power. In a recent Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post, Jimmy Carter opines...
As the results of the recent Palestinian elections are implemented, it's important to understand how the transition process works and also how important to it are actions by Israel and the United States.
Although Hamas won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas retains the right to propose and veto legislation, with 88 votes required to override his veto. With nine of its elected members remaining in prison, Hamas has only 65 votes, plus whatever third-party support it can attract. Abbas also has the power to select and remove the prime minister, to issue decrees with the force of law when parliament is not in session, and to declare a state of emergency. As commander in chief, he also retains ultimate influence over the National Security Force and Palestinian intelligence.
At least you mentioned that NINE of the elected members are in prison. NINE, Jimmy. How is it that you weren't re-elected.
The role of the prime minister was greatly strengthened while Abbas and Ahmed Qureia served in that position under Yasser Arafat, and Abbas has announced that he will not choose a prime minister who does not recognize Israel or adhere to the basic principles of the "road map." This could result in a stalemated process, but my conversations with representatives of both sides indicate that they wish to avoid such an imbroglio. The spokesman for Hamas claimed, "We want a peaceful unity government." If this is a truthful statement, it needs to be given a chance.
Peaceful unity government? Didn't you just say that these guys cut their teeth under Arafat? Arafat -- what a peace-nick.
During this time of fluidity in the formation of the new government, it is important that Israel and the United States play positive roles. Any tacit or formal collusion between the two powers to disrupt the process by punishing the Palestinian people could be counterproductive and have devastating consequences.
The ruling party has called for the elimination of Israel. Where is the take-off point for discussion relative to a statement like that?
Unfortunately, these steps are already underway and are well known throughout the Palestinian territories and the world. Israel moved yesterday to withhold funds (about $50 million per month) that the Palestinians earn from customs and tax revenue.Don't worry Jimmy, I am sure that plenty of Riyals will be heading towards the coffers of the Palestinian Authority. Your buddy the Ayatollah will see to this.
The election of Hamas candidates cannot adversely affect genuine peace talks, since such talks have been nonexistent for over five years. A negotiated agreement is the only path to a permanent two-state solution, providing peace for Israel and justice for the Palestinians. In fact, if Israel is willing to include the Palestinians in the process, Abbas can still play this unique negotiating role as the unchallenged leader of the PLO (not the government that includes Hamas).
It would not violate any political principles to at least give the Palestinians their own money; let humanitarian assistance continue through U.N. and private agencies; encourage Russia, Egypt and other nations to exert maximum influence on Hamas to moderate its negative policies; and support President Abbas in his efforts to ease tension, avoid violence and explore steps toward a lasting peace.
Cuba, Jimmy. Cuba.