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Carter cancels awaited Gaza visit

April 29, 2015 8:59 P.M. (Updated: April 30, 2015 1:01 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- In a last minute move, former U.S President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday canceled his visit to the Gaza Strip, scheduled on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The removal of the Gaza Strip from Carter's itinerary was announced without reason Wednesday evening by the Elders, a non-governmental organization that describes itself as a group of "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights."

Carter's stop in the Gaza Strip was to be the first of a larger trip, to be following by visits to the occupied West Bank and Israel to address pressing political issues and bring international attention to the current humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

In response to Carter's decision to meet with Hamas leadership, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said on April 20 he would refuse to meet with the former president due to his "anti-Israel" positions, according to Israeli media.

Israeli news source Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday that the Israeli Foreign Ministry recommended Rivlin not meet with Carter, in order to convey the message that those who harm Israel will not meet with the president.

Carter is a longstanding critic of what he views as Israel's unjust and violent policy against Palestinians.

During last summer's war, Carter demanded that the the Israel-Gaza status quo change, calling for the international community to recognize Hamas as a "legitimate political actor."

Carter was scheduled to meet Hamas leaders including Ismail Haniyeh to discuss national reconciliation, Hamas leader Ahmad Yousef told Ma'an earlier this week.

He added at the time that since Egypt has no role in mediation now, Carter would come accompanied by international officials to meet Hamas leaders and then President Mahmoud Abbas.

Carter was also scheduled to meet faction leaders and ministers in Gaza, and had planned to discuss a ceasefire with Israel as well as Palestinian elections.

The former president is assumed to continue as usual with his plans to Israel and the occupied West Bank, as reported by the Associated Press.

Comments
Jon / USA
I will pray for President Carter's safety when visiting Israel and the occupied territories. Too many extremists on both sides. He has many enemies among the Israeli"s because of his positions.
30/04/2015 06:05
John Costello / usa
Rivlin and conservative Israel need just the kind of guidance wise Jimmy Carter could give them but they won't take it. What they will do is continue to drive Israel over a cliff.
Of all the world's people Israelis should understand that what they're doing to Palestinians will rebound against them
01/05/2015 03:25
Frank Inbun / USA
Israel has no desire for peace. They want land.
01/05/2015 17:25
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