AIRPORT CITY, Israel (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter defended his plan to meet with the top leader of the violently anti-Israel Hamas movement, saying Monday he hopes to become a conduit between the Islamic militant group and Washington and Israel.
Isolating Hamas is counterproductive, Carter said. Hamas rules the Gaza Strip but is ostracized by Israel, the U.S. and European Union as a terrorist group.
"I think it is absolutely crucial that in the final and dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and Syria will be involved," he told a business conference outside Tel Aviv.
"I can't say that they will be amenable to any suggestions, but at least after I meet with them I can go back and relay what they say, as just a communicator, to the leaders of the United States," he said.