Trump Mideast Envoy: The Palestinians Deserve So Much More than Saeb Erekat

(Ha'aretz) Jason Greenblatt - I write regarding Dr. Saeb Erekat's outburst set forth in his op-ed in which he criticized the move of the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While I understand that Dr. Erekat is angry about President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, I thought it would be more helpful to discuss some of the issues demanding Palestinian leaders' immediate attention, first and foremost of which is contributing to an atmosphere conducive to peace. Unfortunately, Dr. Erekat's rhetoric and his claims were in many respects simply inaccurate. We must all join together to reject such unhelpful rhetoric and false claims if we hope to achieve peace. For far too long, the United States has turned a deaf ear to such words, but ignoring hateful and false words has not brought peace and it will never bring peace. This is the case when discussing the Gaza marches, as we can clearly see from the evidence: While some protesters were peaceful, many were quite violent. In fact, by Hamas' own admission, more than 80% of those killed were Hamas operatives. When Dr. Erekat and the Palestinian Authority are finally ready to reject Hamas' violence and lies and work with us to bring relief to Gaza, we believe real progress could be made that would lay the foundation for a more hopeful future. It is time to stop indulging in overwrought rhetoric and give the Palestinian people something beyond words. Palestinian leadership must create better lives, not sacrifice those lives for Hamas' grim agenda of terror. The Palestinian people want real action, and they need honest, realistic and decisive solutions. The notion that Israel is going away - or that Jerusalem is not its capital - is a mirage. The notion that the United States is not the critical interlocutor for the peace process is a mirage. The reality is that there is an opportunity for peace at hand, and that President Trump and his administration are working to help facilitate a peace that will open up the future of the Palestinian people, if they and their leadership have the courage to seize it. The writer is Assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump and Special Representative for International Negotiations.

2018-06-11 00:00:00

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