VIDEO - Kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's father Noam said Sunday following his meeting with former US president Jimmy Carter, that "the fact that Carter is not considered pro-Israeli, as American tradition dictates, could make it easier for him to meet with certain officials and raise ideas that would be subject to distrust had they come from others' mouths." Video courtesy of Infolive.tv Carter is scheduled to meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus over the weekend, and he has requested to assist in the process of Shalit's release. The meeting between Carter and Shalit, which included both Shalit's and Carter's wives, took place at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. According to Shalit, Carter asked the couple to talk about their feelings and difficulties since their son was kidnapped in June of 2006. Both sides raised issues pertinent to Carter's meeting with Mashaal, which Shalit refrained from describing. "If Carter has something to say after the meeting, I believe he will say it," Shalit told Ynet. Carter's meeting with Shalit couple (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin) Shalit said that while negotiations were ongoing, "even if recently there has been some movement on the issue, no one can say there is actual progress." Earlier President Shimon Peres also met with Carter, and criticized his anti-Israeli comments during recent years. During the difficult meeting Peres thanked Carter for his contribution to the peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt, but also said that Carter's comments and meetings had hurt Israel. He also condemned Carter's intention to meet with Mashaal in Damascus. Following Carter's decision to meet Mashaal, Opposition Leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) decided to abstain from meeting with the former president. Netanyahu's associates explained that the decision stemmed from Carter's anti-Israeli stance in recent years. In contrast, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai is scheduled to meet Carter in order to discuss Jonathan Pollard and the issue of the kidnapped soldiers. Only listening, not negotiating During an interview with US news network ABC, Carter explained his mission: "I think that it's very important that at least someone meet with the Hamas leaders to express their views, to ascertain what flexibility they have, to try to induce them to stop all attacks against innocent civilians in Israel and to cooperate with the Fatah as a group that unites the Palestinians, maybe to get them to agree to a ceasefire things of this kind. "I think there's no doubt in anyone's mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process." He added that according to a recent poll, 64% of Israelis believe the Israeli government should be engaged with direct negotiations with Hamas. Carter said that this would not be his first meeting with Hamas, and that he had met with its leaders in 1996, and again in 2000. He stressed that he would not be negotiating with Hamas, only listening to what they have to say. When asked about his views on American politicians' criticism against him he answered that he was not surprised, and "quite comfortable with it." US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also objected to the meeting, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ignored Carter's initiative. Israeli Ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, said that the meeting negated the international community's principles and could encourage terrorism. Carter's eight day tour of the Middle East sees him visiting Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan as part of the Carter Center's goals to promote human rights and justice.