Greenblatt tours Gaza border tunnel, slams Hamas
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Greenblatt tours Gaza border tunnel, slams Hamas

US peace envoy blasts terror group for diverting funds to attacking Israel, rather than dealing with crumbling Strip

US President Donald Trump's peace envoy Jason Greenblatt (L) tours a Hamas terror tunnel near the Gaza Strip with Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai, on August 30, 2017. (COGAT Spokesperson's Office)
US President Donald Trump's peace envoy Jason Greenblatt (L) tours a Hamas terror tunnel near the Gaza Strip with Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai, on August 30, 2017. (COGAT Spokesperson's Office)

US President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy on Sunday toured a tunnel dug by Palestinian terrorists under the Gaza border, and slammed the Hamas terror group for using funds to bolster its military capabilities, rather than deal with the Strip’s worsening humanitarian situation.

Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s special envoy in the region, toured a tunnel under the Gaza border area with Israeli military officials, led by Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai, who is the top Defense Ministry official in charge of liaising with the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has announced the discovery  of several tunnels on the Gaza border recently dug by Hamas, the de facto ruler of the Strip, and the Islamic Jihad terror group.

On Twitter, Greenblatt slammed Hamas for building tunnels and stockpiling rockets instead of providing for the Strip’s 1.5 million citizens.

“Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing,” he wrote. “Hamas spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better!”

Mordechai also blasted Hamas for “investing funds in death tunnels and arms.” He too blamed the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, for making the situation in the Strip worse by trying to squeeze Hamas.

Palestinian refugees collect aid parcels at a United Nations food distribution center in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 21, 2018. (AFP/ SAID KHATIB)

Officials have warned of a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, with the Strip suffering from high unemployment and a lack of water, electricity and medical supplies. Authorities have warned that US cuts to the budget of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees could also make Gaza’s situation worse.

In October, Greenblatt said a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction would only work if Hamas disarmed, which has remained a sticking point in the nascent detente.

The terror group slammed his statement at the time as “blatant interference.”

Last week Greenblatt, who has remained in the region in the hopes of jumpstarting peace talks, slammed Hamas for holding Israelis captive, meeting with the families of captured citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the families of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, whose remains are being held by the terror group.

Greenblatt’s comments on the Gaza border echoed that of an Israeli officer who gave journalists a tour of an Islamic Jihad tunnel there recently.

The entrance of a destroyed Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel, leading from Gaza into Israel, near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kissufim, seen on January 18, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP/POOL)

The officer said there had been 50 percent decrease in the number of trucks bringing commercial goods and aid into the coastal enclave in the past six months, blaming it on Hamas focusing its funds on arms buildup.

“A lack of money is not the problem in Gaza,” the officer said.

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