Hamas 'Peace Deal' in Question

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter angered leaders in both the U.S. and Israel when he met this week with members of the terrorist group Hamas.

At the end of his visit, Carter claimed that Hamas will agree to accept Israel's right to exist. But Hamas leaders are saying no such thing.

Click play to get Pat Robertson's analysis at the end of CBN News Mideast correspondent John Waage's report.

A Mideast Breakthrough?

Although he's been out of office for 27 years, the former President believes his strategy of talking with terrorists and terrorist sponsors is a formula for a Middle East breakthrough.

"The present strategy of excluding Hamas and excluding Syria is just not working; it only exacerbates a cycle of violence of misunderstanding and of animosity between the two and among all those I have mentioned," Carter said.

Most Israeli leaders refused to meet with Carter, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned him not to talk with Hamas. But after his discussions, Carter said Hamas leaders would recognize Israel's right to exist, if Israel would pull back to its 1967 borders.

Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal later denied that his group would recognize Israel.

Hamas Charter: No Israeli State

Israeli intelligence sources say Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is in the midst of the biggest military buildup in its history.

If Hamas were to recognize Israel, it would be in direct violation of the group's charter.

The charter declares, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it has obliterated others before it."

Still, Hamas would like a cease-fire with Israel to rearm itself and to recover from Israel's targeted assassination campaign against its terrorist leaders.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will continue its efforts to prop up Hamas's rival, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas when he visits the White House Thursday.

The latest polls show that Hamas leaders are more popular among Palestinians than Abbas. But the U.S. is committed to supporting a leader who doesn't publicly advocate terrorism.

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CBN News
John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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