Gaza Blowup Could've Been Avoided: Carter

Agreement on aid crossings would've prevented recent violence
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2009 2:24 PM CST
Former President Jimmy Carter addresses students and guests at the American University of Beirut, Dec. 12, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The destruction being visited upon Gaza could easily have been avoided, Jimmy Carter writes in the Washington Post. The former president, during visits last year, saw both the effects of Hamas rockets on Israeli communities, and the misery and malnutrition caused by the Gaza blockade. He details his own efforts, and observes that improved living conditions in Gaza would make peace infinitely more likely.

But though the rockets stopped last summer after a deal to let in more humanitarian aid, Israel only ever allowed about 20% of normal levels of supplies through, and broke the ceasefire when it attacked Hamas tunnels in Gaza on Nov. 4. Carter pushed an extension of the ceasefire in mid-December, and Israel would only agree to allow 15% of normal supplies through—which Hamas rejected, leading to the current violence.