Via Israel Matzav. A painful concession forced upon him by the Palestinian leadership as a condition for meeting with them? Unlikely. He’s doing them a favor by visiting, not vice versa. He probably did it because he sincerely wanted to pay his respects to the modern Middle East’s original archterrorist. And, of course, because George Bush conspicuously refused to stoop to this when he visited Ramallah. Keep fighting the real enemy, Jimbo.

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Update: Today’s his first meeting with Hamas, by the way. Not the last. That’ll come Friday when he meets with Meshaal in Damascus.

Update: Brothers in arms.

At a reception in the West Bank town of Ramallah organized by Carter’s office, the former president hugged Nasser Shaer, a senior Hamas politician, meeting participants said. Embraces between men are a common custom in Arab culture.

“He gave me a hug. We hugged each other, and it was a warm reception,” Shaer told The Associated Press. “Carter asked what he can do to achieve peace between the Palestinians and Israel … and I told him the possibility for peace is high.”