Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has cancelled a planned visit to the Gaza Strip.
No apparent reason was given for the last-minute cancellation, the Jerusalem Post reported. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had refused a meeting with Carter during the trip, citing the latter’s “anti-Israel” views.
Carter was scheduled to visit Gaza on April 30 to meet with Hamas leaders and to discuss reconciliation efforts between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA). His main objective was to get the PA and Hamas to actualize the reconciliation deal they reached last year.
The former American president has met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the past, and in 2009 he visited Gaza and met with then-Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. Carter has been known for his critical views of Israeli policy and has used the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. During Operation Protective Edge last summer, he condemned what he called the “humanitarian catastrophe” inflicted on Gaza and urged President Barack Obama to acknowledge Hamas’s legitimacy as a political player in the region.