Noel’s piece on CNN drawing out Jimmy Carter’s foreign-policy genius on President’s Day also extended to The Washington Post op-ed page. I’m not saying you refuse an op-ed from a former president, but Carter offered quite a lulu, arguing for giving terrorists a fair shot at governing the Palestinian territories. (You can argue that the Post allowed George Will to completely mock Carter on this point. As Will has said, the Carters of the 1930s expected the Nazis to be pragmatic and moderate their extremes. Didn’t happen.)
Here’s the interesting media part. On Sunday night and Monday morning, the home-page headline at Washingtonpost.com aptly summarized his sentiment: "Let Hamas Govern." (An even better headline would have had a John Lennon-Yoko Ono echo: "All We Are Saying...Is Give Hamas A Chance.") But then, perhaps after someone complained, the homepage shifted to the actual op-ed page headline: "Don’t Punish the Palestinians."
Carter thinks no one should stanch the flow of money to Hamas lest they decide not to moderate, and complains about U.S. and Israeli action against Hamas:
Any tacit or formal collusion between the two powers to disrupt the process by punishing the Palestinian people could be counterproductive and have devastating consequences...
This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.
Carter does not seem to think he would "increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas" by actually treating them like any other half-respectable government, instead of singling them out as terrorists.