Former US President Jimmy Carter insisted on Monday that the Hamas terrorist organization is a group of trustworthy and respectable individuals that cannot possibly be blamed for the recent violence in and around the Gaza Strip.
Speaking on NBC's "Today" show, Carter said that Hamas can be trusted, and that the terror group had adhered fully to the terms of an unofficial six-month ceasefire prior to the outbreak of the Gaza war.
By making such an assertion, Carter indirectly blamed Israel for the violence that engulfed Gaza and southern Israel for three weeks. He sidestepped the fact that prior to the start of the Israeli offensive, Hamas had significantly escalated its rocket attacks on southern Israel.
Carter tried to qualify his remarks by acknowledging Hamas had done some bad things, but remained adamant that the terror group must be engaged diplomatically and made part of the "peace" process.
The interview was part of a PR campaign to push the former president's new book, "We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land," which Carter indicated is being written first and foremost to influence the policy decisions of President Barack Obama.
Said Carter: "I am writing another book about the Middle East because the new president of the United States is facing a major opportunity — and responsibility — to lead in ending conflict between Israel and its neighbors. The time is now. Peace is possible."
Carter's previous book, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid," was highly critical of and in many places openly hostile toward Israel.