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Carter in Gaza Touring Destruction Inflicted on the Palestinian People by US-Made Israeli War Machine

Carter visits Gaza bearing Shalit letter

Date: 16 / 06 / 2009  Time:  09:31
Bethlehem – Ma’an –

Former US President Jimmy Carter has arrived in Gaza on Tuesday to tour war-torn areas and also hold talks with Hamas officials.

Among the sites he visited was the American International School, which was leveled in an Israeli airstrike in January.

"I am very affected. I must hold back my tears at seeing the destruction that was inflicted on your people," said Carter, according to AFP.

"I came to the American School. It taught your children, it was funded by my country and I see that it was deliberately destroyed by bombs dropped by F-16 manufactured in my country. I feel partly responsible for what happened and all the Americans and the Israelis must have the same feeling," he said, according to the report.

"It's not good to see such destruction, but either is it to see rockets falling on Sderot. All this violence must stop," he added.

Carter has not shied away from controversy on his current Mideast visit, meeting last week with Hamas’ top leader Khaled Mesha’al in Damascus, and then meeting Israeli settlers on Sunday.

Before his meeting with Mash’al on Thursday, Carter was quoted saying that Hamas must be involved if there is to be lasting peace in the region.

"I don't believe there is any possibility to have peace between Palestinians and Israel unless Hamas is involved directly, with Fatah," Carter said after meeting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus.

On Friday, Carter met with Noam Shalit, the father of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. Shalit gave Carter a letter for his son, in hopes that he would hand it over to Hamas in Gaza. Carter is expected to do so in one of his meetings with Hamas officials.

Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar said in an interview with Radio Israel that Hamas will consider the possibility of delivering the message to Shalit.

He said that if Israel is interested in putting an end to the Shalit issue, they have to release Palestinian prisoners especially those demanded by Hamas. He said Israel is less interested in a prisoner swap as much as they are interested in knowing Shalit’s location in order to free him in a military raid.

Al-Zahar also criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu’s recent speech saying, “It includes impossible conditions, like abandoning Jerusalem and the right of return.”

Carter arrives in Gaza carrying a letter to Shalit

Tuesday June 16, 2009 11:22 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Former US President, Jimmy Carter, crossed into the Gaza Strip in a visit that aims at observing the destruction inflicted during the war. It is thought that Carter is carrying a letter for the Israeli corporal who is currently a prisoner of war in Gaza."

Carter would hold meetings with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and intends to hand them the letter during the talks. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minster of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, on Tuesday afternoon.

During his trip to Syria, Carter held a meeting with Khaled Mesha'al, head of the Hamas political bureau.

The former US president stated during Monday talks with Israeli officials that he would try to deliver the letter to Shalit.

In an interview with the Israeli Radio, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said that the movement is weighing the possibilities of transferring the letter to Shalit.

Zahar added that if Israel is interested in ending the file of Shalit, then it should release the detainees Hamas demanded in its list.

He said that Israel is not interested in any prisoner-swap deal but is only interested in trying to know the whereabouts of Shalit so it can free him by carrying a military offensive.

Referring to the speech of Benjamin Netanyahu, Zahar said that the Israeli Prime Minister set terms that cannot be accepted, including his demand that the Palestinians must abandon their rights in Jerusalem, and the Right of Return.

Israel is still holding more than 10.000 Palestinians captive under harsh conditions.

Carter to meet Haniyya Tuesday

Tuesday June 16, 2009 01:45 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Media Office of the dissolved Ministry of Interior in Gaza reported Monday that the former US president, Jimmy Carter, will be holding a meeting with Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyya, in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

The office added that the talks would focus on the situation in the Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, and the devastating effects of the Israeli war on Gaza in which more than 1400 Palestinians were killed, and nearly 6000 were wounded.

They would also hold talks on border crossings as part of the efforts to end the Israeli siege, and the efforts to start the reconstruction of Gaza.

Gaza police deny report of failed Carter assassination attempt

Date: 16 / 06 / 2009  Time:  12:50
Gaza/Bethlehem - Ma’an -

Palestinian government police in Gaza denied reports of an attempted assassination of former US President Jimmy Carter during his visit to Gaza Tuesday morning.

Carter arrived in the early morning and shortly after Israeli news agencies began reporting an attempt on his life.

The Israeli Hebrew daily Ma’ariv quoted a Palestinian Security source saying Hamas had foiled an assassination attempt on Carter shortly after he arrived in the area via the northern Erez crossing.

Spokesperson for the de facto government police Islam Shahwan denied the reports, however, saying “the police and security services in Gaza conducted a security survey of the area before Carter’s visit,” and promised that no explosives or weapons apparatus were uncovered during the thorough survey.

“Security arrangements went as planned without any breaches” Shahwan told Ma'an.

Marriv’s report said de facto police found two explosive devices placed on the road that leads from Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip, the road that the president’s motorcade was supposed to pass through.

The report said the de facto police engineering units and the security of the de facto government arrived to the scene and dealt with the matter.

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