Statement of Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Today I toured the area surrounding the Gaza Strip and received a comprehensive security briefing.

I am deeply angered by Hamas’ continued terror activity, including the digging of tunnels that facilitate terrorist activities. Such activities show Hamas’ continued exploitation of the people of Gaza and Hamas’ threats to stability and security in the region. The tour gave me a general insight into the current situation and greatly improved my understanding. I strongly encourage all countries and institutional donors who are trying to assist the people of Gaza to take this tour to understand this difficult, tragic and complex situation. We must all work together to help the people of Gaza, ensure Israel’s and Egypt’s security, and improve lives.

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other extremists continue to build up their military strength at the expense of the civilian population, causing danger to the people of Gaza, Israel, and Egypt.

Once again, I call upon Hamas to return the IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were taken by Hamas. I also call on Hamas to release the Israeli civilians they are holding — Avraham Abera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima. This is a humanitarian issue and Hamas must return all Israelis.

During the upcoming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels, I look forward to the Government of Israel presenting various upcoming projects and policy measures that we have been discussing which will improve the reality in the Gaza Strip. I sincerely hope that the international community will commit to funding these measures according to development priorities and providing the necessary resources to bring them to fruition.