Trump's mideast peace team to Hamas: Stop terror in exchange for aid

"Seventy years after the founding of Israel, it would be wise for Hamas to acknowledge that the existence of Israel is a permanent reality."

July 20, 2018 09:20
3 minute read.
Trump's mideast peace team to Hamas: Stop terror in exchange for aid

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer during a meeting in Jerusalem June 22 2018. . (photo credit: GPO)


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Senior Advisor to US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner, Top Negotiator Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called on Hamas to stop terror, return Israeli prisoners to their families and, in exchange, receive aid to improve the situation in the Gaza Strip in a column published by the Washington Post Thursday night.

"International donors are conflicted: Should they try to help the people directly, at the certain risk of enriching terrorists, or withhold funding to Hamas and watch the people it is supposed to govern suffer?" the piece explained the dilemma in providing humanitarian aid to the coastal enclave, clarifying that in the past any form of aid had been weaponized instead of being used for civilian purposes.

"Until governance changes or Hamas recognizes the state of Israel, abides by previous diplomatic agreements and renounces violence, there is no good option," the article pronounced.

"Seventy years after the founding of Israel, it would be wise for Hamas to acknowledge that the existence of Israel is a permanent reality," the piece added, arguing that the existence of Israel was an accepted fact in almost all of the Middle East.

Offering a solution, "if Hamas allowed it," the team of senior US officials made clear that "There are engaged, interested parties with resources who are ready to get to work.

"If Hamas demonstrates clear, peaceful intentions — not just by word but, more importantly, by deed — then all manner of new opportunities becomes possible. There is no reason the Palestinians (in both the West Bank and Gaza) can’t enjoy economic success and integrate into a thriving regional economy — if they let us help."

On his Twitter account Greenblatt, clearly aimed at Gaza residents, wrote in Arabic "If Gaza lives in peace with its neighbors, it can be a tourist destination like Sharm el-Sheikh and Tel Aviv. But with the leadership of Hamas, seawater that can provide suitable conditions for the establishment of resorts has become smelly and dangerous due to untreated sewage. There is no money to pay for wastewater treatment or to provide electricity because Hamas spends Palestinian money on terrorism instead."

Kushner and Greenblatt headed a delegation visiting Israel in June where they got a glimpse of the situation of the conflict first-hand.

The tour also took them to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar while the Palestinian Authority refused to meet the team, boycotted them and characterized them as “spokespeople for the Israeli occupation intent on normalizing Israeli apartheid.”

The Kushner and Greenblatt trip to the region came as the Trump administration was considering if, when and how to roll-out a blueprint for a peace process which the Palestinians – because the US decisions to move its capital to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital – had already rejected

"At the end of a productive six-day trip to the region recently, one reality was painfully clear: The nightmare of Hamas’s leadership is continuing and needlessly prolonging the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza," the diplomatic trio wrote about the trip in Thursday's editorial, specifically calling out the terrorist organization on their use of kites, rockets, mortars and terror tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

"For far too long, Gaza has lurched from crisis to crisis, sustained by emergency appeals and one-time caravans of aid, without dealing with the root cause: Hamas leadership is holding the Palestinians of Gaza captive," the team concluded.

"Peace will provide opportunity to break this stalemate, and peace will be achieved only by embracing reality and dismissing a flawed ideology."

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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