Carter: Hamas Committed to Peace, Netanyahu Not

Carter: Hamas Committed to Peace, Netanyahu NotCarter: Hamas Committed to Peace, Netanyahu Not

Former US president Jimmy Carter called Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal a strong proponent of the peace process Saturday, and said he wasn’t meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because it would be “a waste of time.”

Carter, who was visiting the West Bank, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday but didn’t meet with Netanyahu or Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Times of Israel said in a report.

He told reporters that he didn’t ask to meet with Netanyahu or his government, and never has, because it would be a “waste of time.” He told in an interview broadcast Saturday that he requested to meet Rivlin, but the president’s office declined.

Carter stressed that Netanyahu is not in favor of a two-state solution to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. “I don’t see that deep commitment on the part of Netanyahu to make concessions,” Carter said.

“I think he made that quite clear during the campaign, that as long as he’s in charge, there will be no two-state solution,” he added.

During a visit to Ramallah earlier on Saturday, Carter also urged Palestinians to hold elections to end the de facto division of the West Bank. He was speaking at a joint news conference with Abbas.

Abbas’s presidential mandate expired in 2009, but he remains in office since there has been no election. The Palestinian parliament has also not met since 2007.