The White House Special Representative for International Negotiations on Wednesday showed support for Egypt’s efforts for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying also that the Palestinian Authority (PA) should take an active role in being part of the solution.
In a statement, Jason Greenblatt said the Trump administration “strongly supports” the efforts of President Al-Sisi and the Egyptian government to help restore peace in Gaza, and to bring about the conditions for the PA to return to Gaza and resume its responsibilities there.
“The Palestinian Authority cannot criticize from the sidelines. The Palestinian Authority should be part of the solution for the Palestinians of Gaza and Palestinians as a whole. If not, others will fill that void,” he added.
“Leadership is about making hard choices. The people of Gaza, and Israelis in the area around Gaza, have suffered for far too long. It is time for the Palestinian Authority to lead the Palestinian people – all Palestinians – to a better future,” the statement concluded.
Egypt has been mediating negotiations for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas for several weeks. Senior Hamas officials recently claimed that the talks have made progress, and a ceasefire is expected to be reached after the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Earlier this week, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas reportedly expressed anger that a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel was being planned without his participation and said, “Over my dead body will there be a ceasefire and agreement for calm between the sides.”
Egypt has also been trying to negotiate a reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah faction, headed by Abbas.
The sides have been hostile to each other since 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup, resulting in hundreds of casualties. A unity government between the two collapsed in 2015 when it was dissolved by Abbas decided, as tensions worsened between the two parties.
The two sides signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in October 2017, which stated that the PA was to resume full control of Gaza by December 1. But the deal was never fully implemented due to alleged “obstacles”.
Greenblatt praised Egypt, Israel and the UN’s Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, two weeks ago “for their roles in an effort to end the violence and terror in the Gaza area. Much can be achieved for all people in the region through honest talk and meaningful action.”
“Terror and violence have held back the Palestinians of Gaza for too long and will never succeed. There can be a better future; it is time to embrace it,” he said.