Reprinted from Wallwritings
The Turkish Anadolu Agency (AA) reported Sunday that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to meet with Palestinian Hamas officials.
A Palestinian security source, who requested anonymity, told the Agency "Carter will arrive in Gaza on Thursday through the [Israeli-controlled] Erez border crossing to meet with leading Hamas officials,"
Maher Abu Sabha, head of the Palestinian border authority, told AA that the director of Carter's office would arrive in Gaza Sunday accompanied by a security delegation to prepare for Carter's "imminent visit."
As of late Sunday, no U.S. news sources had reported on the purpose of the expected visit.
A week ago, Israel officials, advised of the Carter visit, announced that "Israel has officially decided to boycott Carter's visit." The officials added that "Israel would not bar Carter from entering Israel or from crossing to Gaza."
The Middle East Monitor added in its visit announcement that Carter "is undertaking Saudi-backed mediation efforts between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah."
Carter recently met with prominent Saudi officials and urged their intervention to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions. His intervention was welcomed by the Saudi officials in Riyadh, the same Palestinian source told the Anadolu Agency.
This Palestinian source added, "The Saudi government has begun preparations for mediation between the two [Palestinian] movements to reach a 'Mecca II' agreement."
"The Saudi government is seeking guarantees from both Fatah and Hamas that they're serious about reconciliation before mediation efforts would start," the source added.
Carter had recently visited Qatar and met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who assured him that his movement is serious about reconciling with Fatah, the source said.
Carter visited the Gaza Strip in 2009 where he held several meetings with leading Hamas figures, including the group's deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh.
The first Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah was reached in 2007 through the efforts of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
This agreement led to the formation of a Palestinian unity government which held West Bank and Gaza legislative elections in January, 2006. President Carter was prominently involved in monitoring that election.
To the shock and amazement of the U.S. government of President George W. Bush, Hamas won that election decisively, sending a majority of legislators to a newly formed Palestinian Parliament.
Instead of supporting the electoral will of the Palestinian voters, President Bush, through CIA forces in the region, sided with Fatah and helped train military forces aligned with Fatah.
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