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Bible-Thumping Carter to Return to Gaza

Jimmy Carter told a Baptist Convention he will return to Gaza this month "to try to let the world know what's happening to the people there."
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/9/2009, 4:02 PM

Flash 90

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told a Baptist Convention he will return to Gaza this month "to try to let the world know what's happening to the people there." Carter previously has labeled as an “atrocity” Israel’s sanctions on Gaza in response to rocket fire on Israel.

In his Middle East tour two months ago, Carter spoke at Cairo University and accused Israel of “starving to death” Gaza residents. The former president said at a U.N. school graduation ceremony in Gaza City that "the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings."

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) criticized media for repeating Carter's comments without any attributions to an Israeli response or reference to Hamas as a terrorist organization, which has attacked Israeli civilians with more than 10,000 mortar shells and rockets over the past several years.

While criticizing Israel, Carter said that Christians have succeeded in promoting values of “peace, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, love and the alleviation of suffering."

He will travel to Gaza before the end of August, as part of a delegation of “Elders” and will be accompanied by a panel of world leaders assembled by Nelson Mandela. The group also plans to visit Judea and Samaria, where Israel has built a separation fence to prevent suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Carter has adopted the anti-Israeli description of the barriers as the “Apartheid Wall,” and he published in 2007 the book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” which roundly criticizes Israel for Arab violence.

During his last trip to Israel, he surprised followers during a visit to the Gush Etzion community of Neve Daniel by stating that he cannot envision Israel expelling its residents and turning over the town to the Palestinian Authority, as it demands.

However, Carter previously has angered the U.S. government by trying to warm relations with Hamas, which the American government has outlawed as an illegal terrorist organization.

"[We] won't have more to say about this,” an American official said two months ago after being asked about reports that Carter will propose to U.S. President Barack Obama that the United States take Hamas off the list of illegal terrorist organizations.

The White House was livid with Carter, according to an experienced Middle East expert who was quoted on the website of the widely respected Foreign Policy magazine. "Just like with President Clinton, Carter is becoming a huge problem and a growing concern for Obama,” he said.