Former United States President Jimmy Carter reported that he advised Syrian-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on what price to demand from Israel for the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted more than two years ago. He said that Hamas is "relatively satisfied with the status quo."
Carter's visit to Lebanon and Syria earlier this month follows a trip to to Damascus several months ago in the face of American policy against establishing direct contact with the outlawed terrorist organization.
Carter wrote on his website that he spoke with Mashaal about "formulas for prisoner exchange to obtain the release of Corporal Shalit," who has since been promoted to sergeant.
However, he probably is not aware of the promotion because the International Red Cross has not succeeded in convincing Hamas to honor the Geneva Convention and allow its officials to visit him. The Red Cross also has rejected Israeli citizen's demands that it stop visiting terrorists in Israeli jails until Shalit is seen and confirmed to be alive and in good health.
Shalit probably is not aware of the promotion because the International Red Cross has not succeeded in convincing Hamas to honor the Geneva Convention and allow its officials to visit him.
Carter also stated that Hamas, "like the Syrians, [is] relatively satisfied with the status quo and [is] putting all their eggs in Obama's basket." He added, "We had to caution them about expecting too much of an immediate change in U.S. Middle East policy."
His visit to Lebanon, where he offered to help monitor upcoming elections, was met with fierce opposition by the widely respected Investors Business Daily, which referred to Carter as "our worst ex-president" who is a "confidant of thugs and terrorists everywhere."
Hizbullah is running in the elections in an attempt to increase its representation in the parliament. "Is he going as a monitor or a cheerleader for terror?" the business daily asked.