Former US President Jimmy Carter canceled a planned trip to Gaza to meet with Hamas officials on Thursday. No reason was given for the abrupt cancellation.
Carter is on a trip to the Middle East region on his own accord to help improve relations between rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. The former president has urged Saudi Arabia to step in and help with mediation efforts.
“Carter has lately met with prominent Saudi officials and urged their intervention to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which was welcomed by Riyadh,” a Hamas spokesperson told Anadolu Agency. “The Saudi government has begun preparations for mediation between the two movements to reach a ‘Mecca II’ agreement.”
On a three day tour to Israel, Carter is expected to visit Palestinian controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. While in Israel, Carter requested meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin but was denied.
The decision to refuse Carter a meeting was because, according to a senior Israeli diplomatic official, Carter is “a disaster for Israel” with his extreme “anti-Israel stance.”
During last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, the 39th president came out in support of the Gaza-based terror group and called on the US government to remove Hamas from its terror list.
Despite Hamas’s active use of civilians as human shields and firing rockets into Israel from densly populated civilian areas, Carter slammed Israel’s actions in Gaza, saying there was “no justification in the world for what Israel is doing.”