Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has turned down a request from former American president Jimmy Carter for a meeting during his visit to Israel next week. The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni both said that their schedules will not allow a meeting, but an anonymous Israeli official told the Washington Times, "You draw your own conclusions." Other officials have expressed anger at Carter's proposed meeting with Syrian-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
However, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) leader Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman have scheduled to meet with the former president, whose recent book compares Israeli policies on the Palestinian Authority (PA) with former apartheid policies in South Africa.
Carter is scheduled to visit Sderot as well as Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah before traveling to Syria.