Saturday, June 22nd | 17 Sivan 5784

July 23, 2018 4:37 pm

The Trump Team Is Wrong About Hamas

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avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /


From left: US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, meeting in Jerusalem on June 22, 2018. Photo: US Embassy in Israel.

JNS.orgDonald Trump’s senior Mideast advisers are proposing to give Hamas billions of dollars if it will recognize Israel and suspend terrorist attacks. Bad idea. Getting rid of Hamas — not bribing it — is the only hope for peace in Gaza.

In a Washington Post op-ed on July 20, presidential advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, together with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, noted that despite the international community’s gifts of “billions of dollars” to Gaza over the past 70 years, unemployment is at 49 percent, and 53 percent of Gazans live below the poverty line.

The Trump team’s solution? Give Gaza many billions more in exchange for some paper promises by Hamas. Talk about throwing good money after bad.

If Hamas “acknowledges that the existence of Israel is a permanent reality,” “abides by previous diplomatic agreements,” and “renounces violence,” the US officials wrote, then “all manner of new opportunities becomes possible” — because “engaged, interested parties with resources” will start pumping in foreign aid. Gaza will “enjoy economic success and integrate into a thriving regional economy — if they let us help,” they said.

In other words, the Trump administration is willing to provide US taxpayers’ money in exchange for Hamas’ promises.

And that’s all they would be — promises. Exactly like the worthless promises that Yasser Arafat made in exchange for billions of dollars in American and international aid in previous decades. Arafat went along with the carefully choreographed steps arranged by the Clinton administration to qualify for US aid. He mouthed the words that the State Department wrote for him, which supposedly “proved” that he recognized Israel and renounced violence. He took the aid, continued the violence ,and then assured the Palestinian public that he didn’t really recognize Israel.

That charade went on, year after year. Arafat kept sponsoring terrorism against Israel. The State Department kept certifying that he was fulfilling his obligations under the Oslo Accords. Congress and American Jewish leaders kept looking the other way. And the money kept flowing.

Now the Trump team wants to repeat those tragic mistakes.

Oh yes, there’s one additional promise that the Trump administration wants Hamas to make — that it will stop launching violent attacks “on infrastructure projects sponsored by donor nations and organizations.” Isn’t that a joke? The Trump team is pleading with Hamas to stop destroying the stuff that various countries are sending to Gaza, so those countries can send them more stuff.

In their op-ed, Messrs. Kushner, Greenblatt, and Friedman acknowledge that Gaza is ruled by a “corrupt and hateful leadership.” They admit that previous donations for humanitarian purposes “have been diverted for weapons and other malign uses.” They accuse Hamas of “holding the Palestinians of Gaza captive.”

Well, the best way to deal with corrupt, hateful hostage-holders is not to give them billions of dollars and leave them in power in exchange for promises that they will soon break. The way to deal with them is to get rid of them.

The Allies didn’t leave the Nazis in power in Germany at the end of World War II. They completely destroyed the Hitler regime, and forcibly de-Nazified the German educational system and public culture. That’s the real way to peace in Gaza.

Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later this year.

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