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04-14-08, 02:33 PM #1
Israel snubs Jimmy Carter, refuses to protect him because of planned meetings with Hamas
(Updates with Israeli security source, Carter statement)
By Adam Entous
JERUSALEM, April 14 (Reuters) - Israel's secret service declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders shunned him over his plans to meet Hamas, U.S. sources said on Monday.
"They're not getting support from local security," one of the sources said, on condition of anonymity.
An Israeli security source said the Shin Bet security service provided no protection to Carter during his visit to the Jewish state because no request was made.
Asked about the Israeli account, Carter's delegation, which had previously declined to comment, told Reuters in a statement: "The Carter delegation inquired with both the lead agent of the Secret Service detail (protecting Carter) and the State Department Regional Security Officer and were told unequivocally that an official request for assistance had been made."
American sources close to the matter said the Shin Bet, which helps protect visiting dignitaries and is overseen by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office, declined to meet the head of Carter's Secret Service detail or provide his team with assistance as is customary during such visits.
Carter, who brokered Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab neighbour, Egypt, signed in 1979, met Israel's largely ceremonial president, Shimon Peres, on Sunday. But Israel's political leadership, including Olmert, steered clear of the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The former U.S. leader has angered the Israeli government with plans to meet Hamas's top leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Syria, and for describing Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as "a system of apartheid" in a 2006 book.
Carter has defended talks with Hamas as an opportunity to gauge the group's willingness to accept Arab peace overtures.
He visited the Is2aeli border town of Sderot on Monday and said he was "distressed" by cross-border rockets fired by militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
"I think it's a despicable crime for any deliberate effort to be made to kill innocent civilians," Carter said, adding that he hoped a ceasefire would be reached soon.
Israel said it rejected Carter's request to meet jailed Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is seen as a possible successor to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Barghouthi was convicted in 2004 of murder by an Israeli court over the killing of four Israelis and a Greek Orthodox monk in attacks by Palestinian militants. He is serving five life sentences.
An American source described as "unprecedented" the lack of Shin Bet cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service, which protects all current and former U.S. presidents, as well as Israeli leaders when they visit the United States.
The Bush administration and close U.S. ally Israel oppose Carter's planned meeting with Meshaal, whose Islamist group won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 but was boycotted by the West for refusing to renounce violence and recognise Israel.
Israel and the United States have sought to isolate Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June from more secular Fatah forces loyal to Abbas. Abbas holds sway in the occupied West Bank and has launched U.S.-backed peace talks with Olmert.
Hamas leaders have offered a long-term truce with Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the group's 1988 founding charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. (Additional reporting by Brenda Gazzar; Editing by Charles Dick)
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04-14-08, 02:43 PM #2
Carter's an ASS and shouldn't be meddling with US Foreign Policy (he lost that election.)
Good for the Israelies.Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.
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04-14-08, 05:45 PM #3Master OfficerVerified LEO
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Carter was and is anti semitic. Expecting the Israelis to protect him is about like expecting the US to protect Ahmenidiginiwhateverthehellhis name is. (Ahmadingbat?)
Jimmy should stick to building houses.If I wanted people to like me I'd be a fireman.
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