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Letter from members of Congress to President Jimmy Carter (Atlanta, Georgia), April 11, 2008, regarding Carter's plan to visit Khaled Mishal of Hamas (2 pages)



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C o n g r e s s o f the U n i t e d S t a t e s Washington, DC 20515 April 11,2008 The Honorable Jimmy Carter The Carter Center- One Copenhill 453 Freedom Parkway Atlanta, GA 30307 Dear President Carter: We strongly urge you to reconsider your visit with Khaled Mashal of Hamas during your next scheduled trip to the Middle East. While we recognize your abiding interest in improving security conditions in the Middle East, we believe that your efforts to forge peace in the region will be overshadowed by this meeting. We further believe that a meeting between an American leader of your stature and the leader of a group that embraces violence and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union can only serve to confer legitimacy on that group. Since its inception, Hamas has employed suicide bombings and violence to advance its political agenda against the nation of Israel; of late, those attacks have escalated into rocket assaults on Israeli civilians. As friends of Israel, we are committed to ensuring that nation's continued existence and security and find it unacceptable for any representative of the United States to entertain discussions with a quasi-military entity like Hamas that is committed to Israel's destruction. Your meeting with Hamas is particularly counterproductive given the fact that a presidential election is underway. We are optimistic that a Democratic President will take office in January and that either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton will revive the legacy of sustained engagement in the Middle East that you and President Clinton fostered. However, we believe that this new Democratic President will and should continue our country's refusal to legitimize Hamas until it renounces violence as a political tool and recognizes Israel's right to exist within secure borders. Given your stature, your presence can only send an ambiguous, mixed signal about the approach of our future Democratic president. PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER In this spirit, we implore you not to go forward with this meeting with the leadership of Hamas, an event which would do more harm than good to the region, and which would only complicate the work of our next President. Regards, Artur Davis Member of Congress Adam Schiff Member of Congress Adam Smith Member of Congress ''Shelley Berkley Member of Congr&s