White House Asks Arab Countries to Support UN Resolution Against Hamas

U.S. Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt sends letter to diplomats from Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt and Qatar ■ PA moves to oppose the resolution

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Meshal (C) and the vice Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh (L) in Doha, Qatar on October 28, 2016.
Handout / Palestinian Presidency

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has reached out to a number of key Arab countries with the request to support a UN resolution condemning Hamas, which will come to a vote before the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

The administration hopes these Arab countries will support the resolution despite attempts by the Palestinian Authority to impede it. 

Trump’s special representative to the Middle East peace process, Jason Greenblatt, sent a letter on the subject to diplomats from Morocco, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar.

In the letter, Greenblatt urged them not to join the PA’s efforts against the resolution.

A U.S. administration official told Haaretz on Tuesday that Greenblatt noted in his letter that the resolution denounces Hamas for its terrorist acts, but at the same time, calls to support the efforts for Palestinian political unity. He said that countries which oppose terrorism and want stability in the region “have no reason” to oppose the resolution. 

In his letter, Greenblatt also wrote that the UN has never condemned Hamas by name in previous resolutions. He added that the resolution is especially relevant at the current moment, just weeks after Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in a military escalation that almost brought the region to the brink of war. 

With regards to the PA’s opposition to the resolution, Greenblatt described it as hypocritical, because of the PA’s open rivalry with Hamas. This particular issue was also addressed by Greenblatt in a tweet he posted this week, in which he wrote: “Beyond absurd- the Palestinian Authority, which hates Hamas, has cut payments to Gaza for months which increases the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, now tries to defend Hamas & terrorism by undermining a condemnation of Hamas at the UN. It’s time to speak the truth.”

Greenblatt’s letter to the Arab diplomats represents the Trump administration’s strategy of trying to enlist Arab countries, which oppose terrorism and want to see progress in the peace process, to not automatically accept the position of the Palestinian Authority.

The Arab countries’ reaction to the anti-Hamas resolution will be an early test for that strategy, ahead of the release of the administration’s peace plan.