Hamas has rejected working with the United States on fostering peace between Gaza and Israel on Friday, despite U.S. agreements to work with the organization if it renounces terrorism.
U.S. Middle East envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, together with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, penned a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday saying that the U.S. and other countries wanted to offer humanitarian aid to Gaza, but were concerned about “the certain risk of enriching terrorists.”
“If Hamas demonstrates clear, peaceful intentions – not just by word but, more importantly, by deed – then all manner of new opportunities become possible,” they wrote, despite having previously indicated a desire for the Palestinian Authority to take over the area which Hamas captured in a 2007 coup.
“Until governance changes or Hamas recognizes the state of Israel, abides by previous diplomatic agreements and renounces violence, there is no good option.”
They also accused Hamas of squandering aid money meant to improve the lives of Gaza residents. “Despite the billions of dollars invested for the benefit of Palestinians in Gaza over the past 70 years, 53 percent of the people there live below the poverty level, and the unemployment rate is a crippling 49 percent,” they wrote. “The Palestinians of Gaza are stuck in a vicious cycle where corrupt and hateful leadership has provoked conflicts leading to reduced opportunities and the poverty and hopelessness that follow.”
A Hamas spokesman said Friday that “Greenblatt and Kushner have adopted the Israeli position,” and said the “ongoing attack against Hamas reflects the arrogance of the U.S. administration which has turned the senior officials of the administration into no more than spokesmen for the Israeli occupation.”