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May 14, 2018

Gaza: A Failed Experiment by Hamas – U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt (Jerusalem Post)

As Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel, finding a way to help the people of Gaza in any meaningful way becomes more and more challenging. All parties interested in bringing change to Gaza need to face the reality that Hamas has failed its own people.

In the op-ed “Why I March in Gaza” (New York Times, April 27), Abu Shammalah describes the protestors at the Gaza border as unarmed, when many are actually armed. And his characterization of protests as nonviolent does not capture the protestors who are quite violent. An inspiring description of how “kites flew” towards the fence must be balanced by pointing out that petrol bombs and swastikas were attached to some of those kites.

Let’s get real about this – Hamas, and its enablers, such as Iran, are squarely to blame for the desperate situation in Gaza. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza’s weary and increasingly desperate population.

Deep and pervasive donor fatigue has set in. Donors understand that none of us can significantly change the situation in Gaza in the current environment. No one wants to spend money building and rebuilding, only to find what they built is damaged or destroyed in yet another conflict.

I have met many people from Gaza – impressive, resilient people. But there will be a limit to what we can do for them while Hamas is in charge. Hamas has managed to bring the people of Gaza, a people with a proud history and great potential, nearly back to the Stone Age.

I believe that, given a real choice, the people of Gaza would reject this failed Hamas experiment. The fact is, Palestinians in Gaza need to be re-united with their West Bank counterparts under a single, responsible Palestinian Authority leadership.

The writer serves as Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations.

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