Last week, President Donald Trump’s Middle East team signaled a shift in the administration’s policy for contending with Hamas-controlled Gaza — one no prior administration had the courage to make.
On July 19, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, his special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman published a joint op-ed in the Washington Post in which they made clear that they are walking away from their earlier efforts to rebuild Gaza’s economy as a means of advancing the prospects for a broader peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
(This columnist had argued for exactly that policy just two days before.)
Noting that the blame for Gaza’s humanitarian crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas regime, the three wrote:
International donors are conflicted: Should they try to help the people directly, at the certain risk of enriching terrorists, or withhold funding to Hamas and watch the people it is supposed to govern suffer? In the past, investments in badly needed infrastructure have been diverted for weapons and other malign uses, and even the projects that are built are often destroyed as a consequence of Hamas’ aggression. Until governance changes or Hamas recognizes the state of Israel, abides by previous diplomatic agreements and renounces violence, there is no good option.