JERUSALEM (JTA) – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Hamas leader Khaled Meshal is in favor of the peace process with Israel and that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. “I don’t believe that he’s a terrorist. He’s strongly in favor of the peace process,” Carter said, adding that he “deplored” terrorist acts by Hamas and would support moderate members of the group.
Carter also told Israel Channel 2 on Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not in favor of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
Carter completed a three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank on Saturday. He did not meet with Netanyahu or President Reuven Rivlin. Israeli media had reported that Netanyahu and Rivlin turned down requests for meetings due to what they called Carter’s “anti-Israel stances.” Carter reportedly said he did not request a meeting with Netanyahu because he knew he would be turned down.
Carter, who wrote a book titled Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, has called for the labeling of goods that originate in the West Bank, and said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was among the factors that led to the deadly attacks in January in Paris.