Former US President Jimmy Carter has advised the Obama administration against keeping the Hamas resistance movement on its list of terror organizations.

Carter, who was in the Gaza Strip to meet rulers of the area, says he will meet with officials in the Obama administration in two days to discuss his latest trip to the Middle East.

Hamas, whose main objective is Palestinian statehood, has long been branded by the European Union and the United States as a terrorist group and is under boycott for its refusal to recognize Israel.

During an interview with Fox News, Carter said Israel must stop treating Palestinians "like animals."

Israeli human rights activists, such as Uri Davis, in late 2001 called Israel the "last colonial power in the world" for openly practicing "torture, detention without trial, confiscation of land for security purposes and collective punishment."

A year later, when South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu visited the area, he drew disturbing analogies between Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and how blacks were treated under South African apartheid.

"I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa," he said in a speech in Boston in 2002.

"I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about," Tutu added.

During his visit of the Gaza Strip, Carter expressed extreme dismay over the damage inflicted by Israeli forces using state-of-the-art US-produced weaponry on the tiny coastal sliver.

"I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wreaked against your people," Carter said while touring the war-ravaged strip on Tuesday.

Carter also surveyed a school destroyed during Israel’s Christmas war, decrying the fact that it had been "deliberately destroyed by bombs from F16s made in my country."

Tel Aviv unleashed its military operation plan on Gaza on December 27. Three weeks of ensuing airstrikes and a ground incursion left nearly 1,350 Palestinians — at least 1,100 of whom were civilians — dead and nearly 5,450 others injured.

The onslaught cost the Palestinian economy at least $1.6 billion, destroying some 4,000 residential buildings and damaging 16,000 other homes.

Press TV (Iran)