…As Saudi press attacks Hamas for suppressing Gaza protests***
Amid swirling speculation about the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century” for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Tuesday urged patience before its unveiling.
“Jared [Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law] & I sincerely appreciate all of the interest in our peace efforts over the past 2 yrs. But, we’re not going to reveal details of the plan ahead of time. [Continued] speculation doesn’t help anyone & harms the effort. We kindly suggest a stop to the guessing games,” Greenblatt said on Twitter.
The administration, meanwhile, also updated its official international maps to include, for the first time, the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
“Welcome to the newest addition of our international maps system after @POTUS issued a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” Greenblatt tweeted.
Several weeks ago, Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights, which was liberated by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
In the meantime, Hamas’s violent repression of the social and economic protests against it that broke out on Mar. 14, 2019, across the Gaza Strip has been harshly criticized both in Palestinian society and outside of it; criticism was particularly harsh in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi press featured op-eds and columns justifying the protests and accusing Hamas of terrorism, oppression and unbridled lust for power.
The articles stated that Hamas has turned the Gaza Strip into a huge prison for its residents, that Hamas members have become the hangmen of Gaza’s people, and that Hamas is in the same camp as terrorist movements and as the enemies of Saudi Arabia, among them the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Qatar, Hezbollah and the Taliban. Several writers even called on the Arab countries to work to expel Hamas from Gaza and to restore Palestinian Authority control in Gaza, some going as far as to argue that Hamas was more dangerous than Israel to Gaza residents.
Criticism of Hamas was also disseminated on social media. For example, Saudi journalist Azzah Al-Subaie responded to a news item on Hamas’s violent dispersion of a demonstration by tweeting, “Hamas promises the public Paradise in the world to come—while its leaders prefer the Paradise of this world”—a reference to Hamas corruption.