Two American peace organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace and Just Foreign Policy, presented former US President Jimmy Carter with a petition Thursday supporting his mid-April meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. The petition, which will be presented to the remaining Democratic and Republican presidential candidates next week, was signed by 5,000 members of the two groups. A letter to the former president thanked him "for [his] recent efforts toward creating a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and as encouragement for [him] to continue, despite criticism from many sectors." "Peace," the letter continued, "demands courage." The petition itself reads: "I support peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Jimmy Carter speaks for me when he says that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires talking to Hamas. 64% of Israelis have said they support talks with Hamas. Please support including talks with Hamas in efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians." Responding to the petition, Carter said he was grateful for the efforts of Jewish Voice for Peace, Just Foreign Policy, and "others working for the cause of peace in the Middle East." "Public dialogue and awareness are crucial to achieving the goals of peace with security for Israel and peace with justice for Palestinians," he continued. Individuals from all 50 states of America signed the petition.