Saturday 20 June 2009

Carter: Grief and despair for Gaza

Jimmy Carter has spoken of his "grief and despair" at seeing the destruction in the Gaza Strip carried out by Israel's 22-day offensive on the territory six months ago.

"This is holy land for us all and my hope is that we can have peace ... all of us are children of Abraham," the former US president said during a joint news conference with Ismail Haniya, the deposed Hamas Palestinian prime minister, in Gaza City.

Following a tour of the area to see the effects of Israel's offensive, Carter said: "My primary feeling today is one of grief and despair and an element of anger when I see the destruction perpetrated against innocent people in January."

He said the Palestinians had been treated "like animals" and the deprivations faced by them in Gaza were unique in history.

Carter said he was trying to persuade Hamas leaders to accept the international community's conditions for ending its boycott of the movement.

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