U.S. President Donald 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 U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, noted that despite the international community’s gifts of “billions of dollars” to Gaza in 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 U.S. 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.”
In other words, the Trump administration is willing to provide U.S. taxpayers’ money in exchange for Hamas’s 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.
Arafat went along with the carefully choreographed steps arranged by the Clinton administration to qualify for U.S. 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 in 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.
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 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 an attorney and vice president of the Religious Zionists of America.