Apr. 23, 2019
Care about Gaza? Blame Hamas – Jason Greenblatt (New York Times)
Hamas has left Gaza in shambles. Life there is difficult, sad and abnormal. The shoreline is covered in raw sewage and debris from successive wars. If you ask why such hardships exist in Gaza, the answer will almost always be the same: the Israelis.
Really? The Arabs in Israel generally live normal lives and, in many cases, thrive. The Palestinians in the West Bank are largely progressing in stable cities and communities, where electricity is available 24 hours a day.
Others are moving forward while Gaza sinks further into despair and disrepair because Hamas has made choices. Hamas professes violence and the destruction of Israel as a method of gaining a better life for Palestinians. This has led to a decimated economy, hundreds killed in violence each year, and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Hamas is to blame for Gaza’s situation.
Hamas has instigated three wars with Israel since 2007, each time leaving its infrastructure in greater disarray. In these wars, Hamas and other terrorist groups launched thousands of rockets on Israeli communities.
The world is waiting to help again in Gaza but has been prevented from doing so by the choices made by Hamas.
Whether or not we achieve a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, the future of Gaza cannot be addressed and the people of Gaza cannot be helped in any meaningful way until Hamas is no longer in the picture or makes the necessary choices for stability and, eventually, peace.
The writer is an assistant to the U.S. president and special representative for international negotiations.