We are used to world figures coming to the region and giving Israelis and Palestinians all sorts of advice based on nothing but their own celebrity and wishful thinking. We have had to endure the likes of Richard Gere, Jane Fonda and Phil Collins to name but a few. People who are famous and talented in various arts and sports who suddenly believe their talent allows them to postulate about a conflict that was raging before they were born. Then they swan out of here with their egos intact, knowing that a UN or humanitarian award must be just around the corner.
The 'celebrity' who causes the greatest ire to many in Israel is former US President Jimmy Carter. As opposed to some of the other 'celebrities', Carter has a background in diplomacy and leadership in conflict resolution. This makes his comments even more infuriating.
Carter's latest comments come straight out of the top draw of wishful thinking. Carter believes that Hamas will be transformed into a non-violent group after the Palestinian elections.
Carter of course provides no evidence for this belief, in fact there is far more evidence to the contrary. Hamas has run on a platform which is familiar to the Palestinian electorate and part of it is to destroy the State of Israel. Hamas does some very important social work in the territories but it has a very bloody agenda that is at the forefront of its agenda. Why, having been voted in to power on a platform would they change directions? It has brought them success.
Other examples that would disagree with Carter's hopes are close to home. The world told Israel that if it left Lebanon, Hezbullah would go back to being farmers and leave their weaponry behind. Even though Hezbullah have a significant representation in the Lebanese parliament they still run a quasi-autonomous region in southern Lebanon and frequently attack Israel. Contrary to UN resolutions, the Lebanese have not lifted a finger to disarm Hezbullah and assert control.
Why does noone ask Carter on what basis he makes the assumptions he does? Carter who supports the unpopular and intentionally vague Geneva Accords is welcomed to forum around the world to espouse his views to all that will listen. Isn't it time we said enough?
We welcome all those who wish to come to Israel, celebrity or not, but enough of the posturing, the half-baked ideas, the ridiculous claims and above all the wishful thinking.