February 2, 2006 - Jimmy Carter, America's premier nouveau humanitarian, said recently that Hamas deserves international recognition and that aid to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian government should not be withheld in spite of Hamas' proven terrorist record.
Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize so presumably has authority in these matters, says Hamas can be trusted. From the CNN report:
"There's a good chance" that Hamas, which has operated a network of successful social and charitable organizations for Palestinians, could become a nonviolent organization....
The 39th U.S. president said he met with Hamas leaders in Ramallah, in the West Bank, after last week's elections
"They told me they want to have a peaceful administration. They want to have a unity government, bring in Fatah members and independent members," Carter said. But he added that "what they say and what they do is two different matters."
However, Carter noted, Hamas has adhered to a cease-fire since August 2004, which "indicates what they might do in the future."
Carter forgot to mention that Hamas is very good at breaking cease-fires too. For Hamas a cease-fire is merely one of the tactics of war.
Carter relies on the authority of Hamas leaders. Here is what Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar actually said:
"Palestine means Palestine in its entirety - from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras Al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch. That is one thing. "The second thing is that if the right of return is an individual right, neither Mahmoud al-Zahar nor 'Abbas Zaki can relinquish it, because all these concessions will constitute a national catastrophe. "The third point is that we can found a state on any piece of the land, and this will not mean we give up on any other part of the land."
When the interviewer mentioned that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has demanded that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist, al-Zahar responded:
"Why should we recognize Condoleezza Rice... or Israel's right to exist? In this region we have faced Roman occupation, Persian occupation, Crusader occupation, British occupation - they are all gone. The Israeli enemy does not belong to the region. It does not belong to the region's history, geography, or faith. When you enter the land occupied in 1948, it is like entering an enclave. But when you go to Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, you feel at home. It is your homeland."
So to return to the original question: Can Hamas be trusted?
Absolutely. The organization means what it says.
"Hamas Leader Mahmoud Zahar on Al-Manar TV," Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 1083, February 1, 2006.
"Jimmy Carter: Give Hamas a chance," CNN.com, February 2, 2006.
Peace with Realism