Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Carter and Acting PM Ehud Olmert
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO
Hamas rally
Photo: Reuters

Carter: Elections can change Hamas

(VIDEO) Former American President Jimmy Carter says Palestinian elections can help transform Hamas to non-violent group, adds third-party mediation in region needed

(VIDEO) Former American President Jimmy Carter, who is currently staying in the region as head of the team supervising over the Palestinian Authority elections, said Monday he hopes that the Palestinian vote will help moderate Hamas' positions.


The 81-year old Carter, who served as president of the United States when Israel signed its peace agreement with Egypt, was the guest of honor of Monday's seat at the Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel's National Security.


Carter speaks. Hopes for peace (Video: Yaron Brenner) 


In his speech, Carter said he supports President George W. Bush's Road Map peace initiative, as well as the principles of the Geneva Accord, which advocate recognition of Israel by the Arab states, an independent Palestinian state with territorial continuity, a "harmonious" division of Jerusalem and a resettlement of the Palestinians within their borders.


Carter also stated he believes American mediation will be needed for future negotiations between the two sides.


"History has proven that Israelis and Palestinians, even when they are ready to negotiate directly, will need a credible third party to help guide through the process," Carter said.


"Here the role of the United States, and in particular the full support of the president of the United States, must not be underestimated," he added.


'Hamas can change'


The former president said that later on Monday he plans to meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom he said he believes to be "a person of integrity."


I hope for the Palestinian elections will be peaceful, Carter said, as well as "a demonstration of the commitment of most Palestinians to democracy."


"That would be the result of Hamas' candidates being successful in gaining seats within the Palestinian Authority. My hope is that this will moderate their position and lead to their transformation to a non-violent organization," Carter said.


Carter also said that following elections he would like to see the Palestinian and Israeli security forces join forces in a bid to stop terrorist activity still rampant within the PA.


"That's my hope and my dream," Carter said.


Referring to the problem of terror, Carter blasted the suicide bombers phenomenon, as well as the settlement project in the West Bank, which according to him was against the law and constituted an obstacle to peace.


The former president also stated that while the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was an important turning point, further unilateral disengagements may prevent significant progress in peace negotiations.


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.06, 13:19
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