Israelis and Palestinians Must Join Forces Against Hamas, Says Trump Envoy Greenblatt

In op-ed, Mideast peace envoy says Hamas 'neglected and utterly failed to build the infrastructure and systems to make life better in Gaza'

Trump Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, September 9, 2017
Matty Stern / U.S.Embassy Tel Av

Israelis and Palestinians should unite against the deadly threat of Hamas, said U.S. Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt in an op-ed published Friday on CNN.

In his piece, Greenblatt cited two cases, in 2011 and 2016, in which he says Palestinian firefighters joined their Israeli counterparts to combat massive conflagrations that had spread and wreaked havoc in Israel, as examples of the kind of cooperation that should exist between the two entities. 

Just as they joined forces to eradicate these brushfires, Greenblatt said, Israelis and Palestinians must work together to "address another deadly threat: Hamas."

"Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist terror organization, with funding from Iran, dedicated to the destruction of Israel," he wrote. "While Hamas focuses on violence toward their Israeli neighbors, they have neglected and utterly failed to build the infrastructure and systems to make life better in Gaza."

A fire burns in scrubland on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, near kibbutz Or HaNer June 3, 2018
AMIR COHEN / REUTERS

Greenblatt insisted that while Hamas chose to use weaponized fire with "incendiary terror toys" such as kites and balloons in an attempt to destroy Israel, "this is not the only path forward for the Palestinians in Gaza, nor must it be their future."

He expressed hope that one day, Palestinians from Gaza can join their compatriots in the West Bank to help fight fires side by side with Israelis.

In June, Greenblatt penned an op-ed for Haaretz in which he asserted that Palestinian leaders were spreading false claims and "unhelpful rhetoric" and failing to work toward peace. "When [senior Palestinian official] Dr. [Saeb] Erekat and the Palestinian Authority are finally ready to reject Hamas’ violence and lies and work with us to bring relief to Gaza, we believe real progress could be made that would lay the foundation for a more hopeful future," he wrote.