Regarding former president Jimmy Carter’s May 4 op-ed, “A partnership that could bring Mideast peace”:
The “Quartet,” made up of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, has set forth three conditions that Hamas must meet before the international community will deal with it. Hamas must (1) recognize Israel, (2) renounce terrorism and (3) honor previous agreements signed by the Palestinians and Israel. Those conditions are as valid today as they were when they were established several years ago.
It is naive, at best, for Mr. Carter to think that Hamas and Fatah’s pledge to appoint “a unity government of technocrats” is going to become a reality. In fact, it already seems clear that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the most successful and competent technocrat in the Palestinian government, will be removed by this deal. He is widely credited with the expansion of the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and with the establishment of a more transparent and accountable Palestinian Authority. His loss will be felt by the Palestinian people and the entire region.
While I share the hope for a two-state solution, I believe we must remain committed to certain basic principles if the Middle East peace process is to move forward on solid ground. Sadly, Mr. Carter set those principles aside. He should know better.
Eliot Engel, Washington
The writer, a Democrat from New York, is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
carter twins 
Perhaps former president Jimmy Carter was so busy writing his sadly naive op-ed that he missed this bit of news from Gaza. Upon hearing of the death of Osama bin Laden, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas said, “We condemn the assassination of a Muslim and Arab holy warrior and we pray to God that his soul rests in peace.” This statement shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone, as even Mr. Carter acknowledges that Hamas’s own charter calls for Israel’s obliteration.
For a former U.S. president to suggest this week that Hamas, in its new partnership with the Palestinian Authority, is a legitimate and viable peace partner that should be embraced by the United States and Israel is an embarrassment.
Arty Berko, North Potomac
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Jeremy Tomasulo Press Secretary Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) 2161 Rayburn Washington, DC 20515 202-225-2464 http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Eliot-Engel/103355984852