"Life could greatly improve in the short term for the Palestinian people if Hamas allowed it," the authors write.
The three authors say that there are "committed, interested parties with resources" that seek to help rebuild Gaza. "If Hamas demonstrates clear and peaceful intentions – not only by word but, more importantly, by deeds – then Hamas demonstrates clear and peaceful intentions. Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman write.
The last few months have seen tensions grow along the barrier between Gaza and Israel, culminating in an exchange of fire a week ago that saw more than 100 rockets and mortars. fired by militants to Israel, and dozens of airstrikes by Israeli warplanes on Hamas positions in the coastal enclave. Activists also used kites and balloons to launch arson attacks in Israel.
Israel has maintained a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza since June 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza. The blockade effectively locks more than 2 million Gazan residents in their territory and is considered by the UN as a major factor in the deterioration of living conditions in the region. Jamie McGoldrick, UN humanitarian coordinator for Gaza, said this month that new restrictions imposed by Israel in retaliation for incendiary kites "may cause dramatic deterioration in an already fragile and desperate humanitarian situation" . "
The UN warned that by 2020, conditions in Gaza could deteriorate to the point of becoming unlivable.
Kushner was tapped by his father-in-law, Donald Trump, shortly after taking office to work on what the US president called the "ultimate agreement" between Israelis and Palestinians. But talks with the Palestinians failed after the Trump administration 's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the US embassy there. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to meet with Kushner and his colleagues since then.
But Abbas – whose authority is essentially limited to the West Bank – is involved in his own power struggle with Hamas. The Washington Post editorial asks Hamas to let the Palestinian Authority cross the Gaza crossing points into Israel and Egypt, which Abbas himself has also attempted to do.
Kushner and Greenblatt traveled to the Middle East last month in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Israel, which included a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The United States wants the Gulf states to pay for the future development of Gaza, although Abbas is wary of US intentions. According to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Kushner's editorial showed that US officials were "mere spokespersons for the Israeli occupation."