Trump Envoy Greenblatt Decries Gaza's 'Monstrous' Leadership, Calls on Hamas to Relinquish Power

'This message is monstrous,' tweets Trump peace envoy Greenblatt about Gaza leadership calls to protest. 'This only hurts the Palestinians of Gaza'

Amir Tibon
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Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt listen as American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Israel and the Palestine territories on February 20, 2018.
File photo: Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt listen as American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council on February 20, 2018.Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP
Amir Tibon

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process Jason Greenblatt denounced Hamas on Wednesday and called on the group to disarm and relinquish control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. In a series of tweets he published from his government account, Greenblatt wrote: 

"In a speech a few days ago, Hamas’s Gaza leader, Yahya Al-Sinwar says (in Arabic) that they will 'tear down the wall and tear out their (meaning Israeli’s) hearts.' This message is monstrous. Is this what a leader does? This only hurts the Palestinians of Gaza. This old-line of thinking and ideology hurts all Palestinians. This can cause the situation to escalate and many lives could be lost. Will Hamas ever learn?"

"Hamas must relinquish its control of Gaza to the PA and disarm," Greenblatt added. "If it wants to join the real world, it must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and decide to abide by past agreements."

Greenblatt has called to move the Gaza Strip to the control of the PA ever since last year, and is continuing to promote that policy line, even though the PA has been boycotting the Trump administration for its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Last week, Greenblatt published a statement in which he urged the leaders of the public protests in Gaza not to get close to the border fence with Israel. "The United States strongly urges protest leaders to communicate loudly and clearly that protestors should march peacefully; should abstain from all forms of violence; should remain outside the 500-meter buffer zone; and should not approach the border fence in any way or any location," he wrote.

The statement included no reference to what Israeli authorities should do, and placed all the blame for the deaths of more than two dozen Palestinians thus far in the protests, on the Palestinian side. 

"We condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors - including children - to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed," Greenblatt wrote. "Instead, we call for a renewed focus by all parties on finding solutions to the dire humanitarian challenges facing Gazans."

The White House hosted an international conference on the situation in Gaza last month, which included representatives from Israel and 19 other countries, including a number of prominent Arab countries. The PA was invited but chose not to attend, as part of its boycott of the administration over Jerusalem.