Trump's envoy: Hamas using protests to attack Israel

Jason Greenblatt blasts Hamas, says Iran is to blame for instability in the region.

Ben Ariel,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator, said on Tuesday that Hamas uses protests at Israel’s border with Gaza to attack the Jewish state.

“Hamas and other terrorist groups have spent their energy and resources encouraging Palestinians in Gaza to stage protests and throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the border fence,” Greenblatt said in a speech at the American Jewish Committee’s women’s leadership board spring luncheon, as quoted by JTA.

“In some cases Hamas use the protests as cover to attack Israeli troops and plant bombs along the border fence,” he added.

Greenblatt also shared his perspective about the current situation in the Middle East. He said some “good news” in the region includes opportunities for Israel to forge better ties with other Arab countries.

Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “increasingly look to Israel as a security and economic partner. These ties can serve as a model for future collaboration that benefit all and lead to closer regional ties,” Greenblatt said, according to JTA.

He praised President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said that ties between Israel and the United States are more robust than ever.

“The president treats Israel the way a valued friend and partner should be treated, and the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Trump is stronger than it has ever been before,” said Greenblatt.

The American envoy blamed instability in the region on Iran, which he said was “increasingly emboldened and aggressive,” and expressed hope that the U.S. could one day “can resume our historic friendship with the people of Iran.”

He also shared stories of meeting with Israelis and Arabs of different backgrounds, including comforting families who lost relatives in terror attacks and hosting five young Palestinian Arabs for a Shabbat dinner with his family in Jerusalem.

“These experiences have shown me that so many of us share the same hopes, dreams and aspirations,” he was quoted as having said.

Greenblatt has been working on the Trump administration's proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is due to be presented soon.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, however, has refused to consider the Trump administration an honest broker for negotiations since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.

Recently, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Greenblatt of adopting Israel’s position on key issues and serving as a de facto spokesman for the Israeli government.

Greenblatt later fired back and said, “Saeb Erakat's personal attack on me is a symptom of the difficulties in the path to peace. Saeb knows there’s no truth to his accusation. This outburst, like all his recent outbursts, is merely intended as a distraction from the important work that lies ahead."

“But this empty, self-indulgent rhetoric won’t stop us from trying. Saeb: It’s time to time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere!” he added.


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