Photo Credit: David Azagury/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt inside a Hamas terror tunnel on the border with Israel, August 30, 2017.

Showing the kind of erudite approach to foreign policy we have grown accustomed to from the Trump Administration, Jason Greenblatt, the President’s Middle East peace envoy said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority must resume its control over the Gaza Strip.

Speaking during a tour of the Gaza-Israel border, where he was accompanied by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai, Greenblatt voiced his vehement opposition to Hamas’ rule and his support of the PA’s efforts to take back control of the Gaza Strip government.

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In June 2007 Ismail Haniyye formed a Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, following an intensive inter-factional warfare in which Fatah was ousted by Hamas party. According to an AP report at the time, hundreds of Hamas fighters firing rockets and mortar shells captured the headquarters of the Fatah-allied security forces in northern Gaza, scoring the key victory in the bloody battle for control of the seaside strip.

The AP quoted a survivor of the Hamas assault who said the Fatah forces were outgunned and reinforcements never arrived. “We were pounded with mortar, mortar, mortar,” the Fatah fighter, Amjad, said, breathing heavily. “They had no mercy. It was boom, boom. They had rockets that could reach almost half of the compound.”

The confrontations were so brutal, Fatah men were killed execution-style in the streets, others in hospital shootouts and some were thrown off rooftops.

Always the rational optimist, Greenblatt opined on Wednesday that “it is clear that the Palestinian Authority needs to resume its role in the administration of Gaza, as Hamas has substantially harmed the people of Gaza and has failed to meet their most basic needs.”

In 2012, the UN issued a warning that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable by 2020 if current trends were not change. Two years later, as the Hamas was pounding Israeli civilians with hundreds of rockets, Israel retaliated by crushing Gaza’s housing stocks wherever rocket launchers were detected. Now, as of the spring of 2017, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has launched a policy of squeezing the life out of Gaza by depriving the people there of electricity. Which is why a new report released last month by the UN said that “life for the average Palestinian in Gaza is getting more and more wretched,” and that for most of the people Gaza is already unlivable.

Seeing as Abbas’ Fatah is simply unable to carry out those eloquent suggestions of Trump’s envoy, perhaps the US would be willing to send ground forces to forcibly reinstate the PA as the legitimate government of the Strip.

Good luck, and bring lots of chocolate!

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