U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt Slams Palestinian ‘Hypocrisy’ For Rejecting Gaza Aid

U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, center, Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi, left, and the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Mazen Ghoneim give a news conference about a water-sharing agreement, in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 13, 2017. Greenblatt announced Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians …
Ronen Zvulun/Pool, via AP

TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump’s Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt slammed the Palestinians for their “hypocrisy” Thursday after a Palestinian Authority official rejected U.S. humanitarian relief to Gaza, claiming that the aid was a cynical ploy to separate the coastal enclave from the West Bank.

“Hamas & the PA, who have been fighting one another for over a decade, are each cynically claiming that the US is trying to divide Gaza and the West Bank, instead of acknowledging that we are trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza,” Jason Greenblatt tweeted Thursday.

“What hypocrisy,” he added.

Greenblatt and Trump’s special adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner are currently on a visit to the region and are meeting with high-ranking officials in Jerusalem, Cairo, Amman, Doha and Riyadh. Notably, they will hold no meetings in Ramallah. The PA has boycotted U.S. peace efforts since Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Monday, PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh charged the U.S. with attempting to cause a rift between Gazans and Palestinians in the West Bank after it was reported that the White House is seeking to raise up to $1 billion from Arab Gulf states to rehabilitate Gaza.

“The Palestinian leadership warns the countries of the region against cooperating with a move whose goal is to perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank and lead to concessions on Jerusalem and the holy sites,” the statement from Rudeineh said.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the money would be used to stabilize the security situation in northern Sinai as well as develop an industrial area adjacent to Gaza, including a power station and factories to serve Gazan residents.

UN officials have partly blamed Gaza’s humanitarian crisis on the PA, which continues to withhold salaries from civil servants in Gaza as well as restricting electricity and medical supplies entering the Strip.

Despite the U.S.’s effort to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, Greenblatt indicated that his is wary of funneling more foreign funds into the Strip while terror group Hamas in still in power.

“Hamas continues to fail the Palestinians of Gaza — arson kites & balloons & many mortar & rocket attacks directed against Israelis. How can the international community help when murderous Hamas leaders continue to squander the resources of Gaza? The people deserve better,” he tweeted Thursday.

Rudeineh on Sunday billed Trump’s upcoming peace plan as “a waste of time that is bound to fail.”

“Without the agreement of the Palestinian people, the fate of the series of meetings will be a total failure,” said Abu Rudeineh.

“It is a waste of time and destined to fail as long as the attempt to circumvent the legitimate Palestinian institutions continues,” he added.

According to the Wafa news agency, Rudeineh also said that any proposal that does not include a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem or a solution for Palestinian refugees will fail.

“If the United States continues to act to change the rules regarding relations with the Palestinian leadership and our Palestinian people then the stagnation and political paralysis will continue,” Rudeineh said.

Earlier this month, Greenblatt and senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat exchanged barbs in Haaretz opeds with the latter accusing Trump’s envoy of peddling Israeli right-wing views.

The Trump administration, Erekat opined, “has promoted anarchy, undercut international treaties and destabilized international organizations tasked with cleaning up Israel’s mess.”

He accused the White House of “crushing Palestinian national and human rights.”

Greenblatt shot back that it was time for Erekat to step aside. For the last 40 years, Greenblatt wrote, Erekat has voiced the same talking points and failed to deliver “anything close” to what the Palestinians want.

“Dr. Erekat — we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement,” he wrote. “Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better.”