Carter the man to work for peace

By Josh Kellogg

Former President Carter has taken a lot of beating in the international media these last few weeks for his meeting with Hamas.

He was labeled a “bigot” by the Israeli U.N. representative Dan Gillerman. The Bush administration has denigrated his trip to Syria, calling it unhelpful.

However, in reality, he is one of a very few people with the political acumen to understand the reality of the situation.

The United States’ policy in this matter has been underwhelming, with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas returning from talks with President Bush this week with little accomplished.

The truth is that Hamas is a key player in these negotiations, despite their continued reliance on reprehensible tactics to pursue some of their goals.

They are well organized and financed and have shown themselves capable of handling the pressure of military attacks (as demonstrated by Israel’s failed initiative in 2006). In a 2006 election that was internationally monitored and vetted, Hamas gained substantial political power in the Palestine region.

The response from most western governments was that ignoring Hamas will better situate them to find a cure for the region’s ills.

Marginalizing Hamas will not achieve the goals of a peace process. All entities need to be involved in a peace brokerage, even the spoilers.

Jimmy Carter has realized that the only way one can get back along any sort of road to peace is to talk. Not to label and exclude, but to extend a hand and work together.

As one of only two U.S. Presidents to receive a Nobel Peace prize, Jimmy Carter was recognized “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts … .”

He helped broker a long-lasting peace accord between Israel and Egypt.

Who better than to reach out to the shattered relations between Israel and Palestine?