June 16th, 2009
01:28 PM ET
6 years ago

Carter decries destruction in Gaza

Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo district of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.
Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo district of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

(CNN) - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on a visit to Gaza that he had to "hold back tears" when he saw the destruction caused by the deadly campaign Israel waged against Gaza militants in January.

Carter was wrapping up a visit to the region during which he met representatives of all sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Among the sites he visited was the American school that was destroyed by the bombings Israel initiated in response to rocket attacks launched from Gaza into southern Israel.

"It is very distressing to me. I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been raked against your people. I come to the American school which was educating your children, by my own country.

"I see it's been deliberately destroyed by bombs from F16s made in my country and delivered to the Israelis. I feel partially responsible for this - as (do) most all Americans and Israelis," Carter said at a news conference.

"The only way to avoid this tragedy happening again is to have genuine peace," he added, pointing out that many Palestinians are now fighting each other in the West Bank and Gaza because of their affiliations with Hamas or Fatah.

"It's very important that Palestinians agree with each other, to cooperate and stop attacking each other and to build a common approach to an election that I hope to witness and observe next January the 25th."

After the briefing, Carter headed to a graduation ceremony for students who completed a human rights curriculum provided by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

"The human rights curriculum is teaching children about their rights and also about their responsibilities," Carter said in his speech to graduates.

In his speech to graduates, Carter said bombings, tanks and a continuing economic siege have brought death, destruction, pain and suffering to Gaza. "Tragically, the international community largely ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings."

"The responsibility for this terrible human rights crime lies in Jerusalem, Cairo, Washington, and throughout the international community," Carter said.

After meeting with Hamas leaders, Carter said, "The Hamas leaders want peace and they want to have reconciliation not only with their Fatah brothers but also eventually with the Israelis to live side by side.

– CNN's Shira Medding contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Jimmy Carter
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Sue

    Jeemy Cahtuh, don't you remember seeing on TV that the Israelis retaliated against the Palestinians because they were lobbing explosives into Israel and killing Israeli people. Don't they matter? Do only the Palestinians matter?

    June 16, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. RH

    Interesting that there's no mention of the fact that the Arabs were using that school building as an arms depot.

    What a ridiculous clown Carter has become. He was always rather inept, but now he's descended into complete foolishness. Hey, Jimmy, I know a Nigerian banker who needs somebody to believe in him, too.

    June 16, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Only JC would meet with Hamas. This man has been a disgrace in mid east policy. Why don't you go back to N. Korea and see how that last deal you brokered deal turned out.

    June 16, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Steven

    Mr. Carter, please confine your comments to "your" feelings. You have long since ended speaking for what "most Americans" think or feel.

    June 16, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. The Original No Incumbents 2010

    "I see it's been deliberately destroyed by bombs from F16s made in my country and delivered to the Israelis. I feel partially responsible for this — as (do) most all Americans and Israelis," Carter said at a news conference.

    Are there still questions about the similarities between former President Carter and President Obama?
    I wonder if Hamas feels partially responsible?

    "After meeting with Hamas leaders, Carter said, "The Hamas leaders want peace and they want to have reconciliation not only with their Fatah brothers but also eventually with the Israelis to live side by side."

    And Ole Jim swallowed that hook line and sinker, I'm sure.

    June 16, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. PG

    wonder what he would think if he visited sudan?

    June 16, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. KillJay

    Would somebody shut this loser of a x-president up. He is a traitor.

    June 16, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    I'll buy Jimmy a one-way plane ticket to Gaza myself. He's still the worst president this country has ever had. Although Bush II and Obama are duking it out for second place.

    June 16, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. TCM

    someone put that old fool on an iceberg and float him out to sea! HE's the grandfather of the economic destruction for this country....now, he's bouncing the baby obama on his knee to finish off this once great nation. What's really a shame is the liberal media know exactly what the agenda is, but lack the morals or the balls to do anything but report the misinformation from the propaganda ministry.

    June 16, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. ken

    Not only was Jimmy a lousy president, but he has succeeded in becoming a bigger fool and king of the 'Blame America First' crowd.

    June 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Anon

    After meeting with Hamas leaders, Carter said, "The Hamas leaders want peace and they want to have reconciliation not only with their Fatah brothers but also eventually with the Israelis to live side by side.

    What Hamas did Carter meet with? The same Hamas that has repeatedly stated they will NEVER agree to Israel's right to exist? The same Hamas that has continually fired rockets into Israel?

    I agree that there is plenty of blame to go around between Israel and the Palestinians. I do not personally believe that Israel is totally in the right, they've been pretty wrong as well. But come on to come out say something like that about Hamas, is Carter going senile?

    June 16, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Chris - Seattle

    Israel's policies toward Palestine suck and anybody that thinks differently is prejudice, racist & bigoted. For example any Joe Blow can shot a rocket at them, regardless if you're an extremist from Hamas, Hezbollah or New Jersey and they're gonna bomb the crap out of Gaza. This planet and every inch of land on it belongs to God and we're placed here to be good stewards of it, which we(humans) suck at, I'm starting to think maybe we should let one of the many countries that want to wipe Israel of the face of this planet have at it!!!

    June 16, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. PhoenixPhil

    I can hardly hold back the tears .....(of anger)..... every time Jimmy Carter opens his mouth. Please Mr. Carter do not speak for me in any way. I do not feel responsible for the bombing of the school ..... Those launching missiles and, as I recall, launching them from the school into Israel are responsible. I hope "time" will soon shut this man up.

    June 16, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. SRIVIN

    How naive is this President Carter. Hamas does not recognize Israel nor do they want peace with Israel. How can any sane person ignore all the facts on the ground and make such idotic statements.
    Sri.
    Minneapolis.

    June 16, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. SRIVIN

    How naive is this President Carter. Hamas does not recognize Israel nor do they want peace with Israel. How can any sane person ignore all the facts on the ground and make such idiotic statements.
    Sri.
    Minneapolis.

    June 16, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Jimmy build some of your crack houses over there and then stay there.

    June 16, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. vegage

    It is sad that the USA press is not paying attention to what is happening in Gaza. International press is being blocked to enter Gaza because the Israelis don't want the World to know how deplorable conditions Gazans are living due to the horrible things Israel are doing to this poor people. It is time to Israel to return the occupied lands in the 7 days war and make peace with Palestinians. Those lands do not belong to Israel and should be returned. And I think the American press needs to get involved and present to the American people the two sides of the coin, because the is not such thing that Israelis are the good guys and Palestinians are the bad guys.

    June 16, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. liberals are lemmings

    its pretty funny how everyone in the us just thought it was so terrible when israel went into gaza after thousands of rockets where launched from there into israel. Yet how many rockets do you think the us would allow to strike our soil before we reacted.

    June 16, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. E-Man

    Carter was loser back in the day and still is. Why doesn't he talk about the killing of innocent people by Hamas and other militant Palestinians ? Why not discuss that they want to wipe Israel off the map and that they dseny the Holocost happened ? Neither side has right to kill innocent people, but let's get hte truth out of his mouth. If it wasn't for GW Bush Carter would have been our worst President ever.

    June 16, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. BabaLou

    Go back to your peanut farm, Mr. Carter.

    June 16, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Debra Austin, Texas

    Sorry folks, Israel never instigated bombing of Gaza. After Israel, pulled its settlers out of Gaza, to much pain for those Israelis, Hamas started shelling Israel. So if peanut breath is so sorry for the destruction, perhaps he could tell his good pals in Hamas, not to shell Israel, and they would not have their schools bombed. What a rocket scientist idea. And for those who blame Israel 'for not doing what they promised', go get some brains. When your country is attacked, it will respond. Don't expect Israel to take the rocket attacks without response. Pathetic arguments for you who are anti-Israel.

    June 16, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Carter---go back to your peanut farm......

    Every time the Palestinians launch rockets into Israel, they are going to get more of the same.....

    June 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Enough

    Carter = worst president ever!! Why is he even there?

    June 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    Exactly how many tears did he hold back for al the rockets Hamas sent screaming into Israel or doesn't that count? He taught Sunday School! He should know who that land belongs to! Sorry, I don't believe "most" Americans feel guilty. Yes Israel is plied American military hardware but where is all these Hamas rockets coming from and are their suppliers feeling guilty? Highly doubt it! Don't fire rockets and you won't get bombed! Pretty simple! I don't dislike the Palestinian people but their own leadership is destroying them! Neither Hamas or Fatah wants true peace with Israel!

    June 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. 25 year old independent

    Tim June 16th, 2009 1:56 pm ET

    I wish Carter nothing but the worst. He is an idiot and a disgrace to our country.
    ______________________________________________

    I swear some of you people that blog here have no common sense or decency. This man is one of our previous Presidents, just like both Bush's, Clinton and Reagan, and he should be respected not insulted. He is no longer the active President so just leave him alone and grow up. He's done more with his life and for the good of the county then I'm sure you have.

    June 16, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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