According to Fox News, it looks like Jimmy Carter is going to meet with Khalid Meshaal, the Hamas leader who lives in exile in Damascus. I’m sure that this will make a lot of people angry. Furthermore, it isn’t clear to me that this is necessarily the right course of action at the moment. Still, I greatly respect Carter’s decision here.
In talking to Khalid Meshaal, Jimmy Carter will open the door of dialog with Hamas, something that Israeli and American leadership seem to oppose unequivocally. How productive will their meeting be? Maybe not very. But hopefully once Jimmy Carter, a former US president, has met with Hamas leadership, other people will be willing to. While I have no love for Hamas, the truth is that there can be no real progress in creating peace in Israel-Palestine without involving them in the process.
I look forward to seeing what happens at their meeting. Does the fact that Carter will “be traveling in his capacity as head of the Carter Center, and not in his capacity as a former president” mean anything? We’ll see. But whenever I see someone try to take action to create peace–or at least dialog–between the Israelis and the Arabs, I get hopeful, if not necessarily encouraged.