Carter Meets With Former Hamas Minister

Ex-prez defies Israel, Bush, and lays wreath on Arafat's grave
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2008 12:35 PM CDT
Jimmy Carter, second right, lays a wreath at late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 15, 2008.   (AP Photo/Atef Safadi, Pool)
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(Newser) – Jimmy Carter traveled to the West Bank today to meet a former Hamas minister, ignoring strenuous objections by Israeli leaders. Carter also laid a wreath on Yasser Arafat’s tomb, a customary gesture of respect President Bush pointedly avoided on his last visit, Reuters reports.

“I'm just trying to understand different opinions and communicate ... between people who won't communicate with each other,” Carter said. He said he wasn’t given permission to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza—the Nobel laureate did not indicate that Israel refused his request, but a member of his party confirmed it.