April 18, 2008

Carter Decries Israeli Atrocities in Gaza

Carter meets Hamas political chief
Jimmy Carter, a former US president, has met Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas leader, in the Syrian capi
tal, despite strong opposition from Tel Aviv and Washington.
The controversial meeti
ng was being held at a Hamas office in Damascus and attended by Musa Abu Marzuq and Mohmmed Nazzal, senior figures from the Palestinian movement.
Carter arrived in Syria on Friday and held talks with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, before meeting Meshaal.
[...] On Thursday, Carter met a delegation of Hamas leaders from the Gaza Strip in Cairo and held talks with Husni Mubarak, the Egyptian president.
Speaking to the media, Carter defended his meetings, calling them necessary in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The former US president also described Israel's
siege of the Gaza Strip as a crime and an atrocity.
He said Palestinians in Gaza were being "starved to death", receiving fewer calories a day than people in the poorest parts of Africa.

"It's an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza," he said. "It's a crime... I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on."
Carter said that US attempts to undermine Hamas have been counterproductive.

His meeting with leaders of Hamas, a group he insists must be included in peace negotiations, has angered many in Washington and Israel, who call the Palestinian group a "terrorist" organisation.

[...] Israel has meanwhile sealed off the West Bank and Gaza for 10 days as it prepares to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Tanks and soldiers moved into position at the crossings following the shutdown that took effect early on Friday, barring Palestinians from the occupied territories from entering Israel.[...]

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