The definition of useful idiot is ... Update: Video added, and Hamas punks him twice

Jimmy Carter may have aged considerably since his years at the helm of foreign policy, but that doesn’t excuse his latest debacle; he was just as clueless 30 years ago as he proved himself to be this week. Carter had everything but Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella as he returned with a supposed agreement by Hamas to recognize Israel and accede to a peace deal negotiated by Mahmoud Abbas and approved by referendum. However, Hamas immediately pulled the rug out from under Carter, exposing his idiocy:

Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Hamas — the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel — is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to “live as a neighbor next door in peace.”

Carter relayed the message in a speech in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leaders in Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Mideast aimed at breaking the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leaders “said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders” and they would “accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace,” Carter said.

So far, so good — right? Carter has brought us Peace In Our Time, and singlehandedly resolved the most tiresome conflict in the world. Or did he? Emphasis mine:

Carter said Hamas promised it wouldn’t undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel, as long as the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum. In such a scenario, he said Hamas would not oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza said Hamas’ readiness to put a peace deal to a referendum “does not mean that Hamas is going to accept the result of the referendum.”

Uh-huh. So Carter’s entire effort was predicated on getting Hamas to agree to abide by a referendum, and Hamas — surprise! — has already reneged. Hamas also had a much different idea of a referendum than Carter. They didn’t want a referendum of the 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, but one that included the 9 million Palestinians living around the world. And even if that could be accomplished and the deal passed, Hamas still won’t commit to honoring its resolution.

Carter says the conflict remains prolonged because the US will not meet with Hamas. Carter seems to have forgotten that we have a policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists, and with groups that demand the destruction of our allies. His meeting with Khaled Mashaal certainly proved productive; Carter got to promote the agreement they reached for, well, hours before Mashaal showed why negotiating with terrorists is such a stupid and self-destructive idea.

At least Neville Chamberlain didn’t try to give Czechoslovakia away while the Nazis rained artillery on it. He had that much of an excuse for Munich. Carter has managed to surpass Chamberlain in fecklessness.

Update: Hamas gave Carter a second humiliation, denying that they ever agreed to recognize Israel regardless of the referendum:

Hamas is ready to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders but “it will not recognise Israel,” the Islamist movement’s exiled chief Khaled Meshaal told a news conference Monday.

“We accept a Palestinian state within the June 4 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital — a sovereign state without settlements — as well as the right of Palestinian refugees to return, but without recognition of Israel,” he said.

Got that? Carter met with them twice and managed to move them not a single iota from their long-standing position. In case that isn’t enough cluelessness for you, here’s video of Carter defending this useless trip and denying that his visit legitimized Hamas: