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White House To Convene ‘Brainstorming Session’ To Help Gaza

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House will convene a meeting next week of “stakeholders” to improve life in the Gaza Strip, said the top Trump administration Middle East peace negotiator.

“In response to the burgeoning humanitarian situation in Gaza, key countries and stakeholders are preparing to act: There was a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, and there will be a brainstorming session at the White House next week to find real solutions to the problems that Hamas has caused,” Jason Greenblatt wrote Thursday in an op-ed in The Washington Post. The op-ed was the first announcement of the meeting. A spokesman for Greenblatt declined to say who the stakeholders and countries are. It’s not clear who took part in the Cairo meeting, although Hamas officials were recently in the Egyptian capital to discuss reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority.

However, there are a number of possible players who might balk at participating in the talks should they be public. Additionally, there are potential parties whose participation could embarrass the Trump administration.

The Palestinian Authority, for instance, has formally retreated from efforts by the Trump administration to reconvene peace talks, citing President Donald Trump’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Hamas, the group controlling the Gaza Strip, is designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group. Qatar, a country that has been involved in attempts to better the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, is being shunned by a key U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. And Turkey, which also has been deeply involved in Gaza in the past, currently has tense relations with the United States over U.S. backing for Kurds in Syria’s civil war.

Greenblatt’s op-ed mostly blasted Hamas for neglecting the population in the territory with its perpetuation of terrorism, but also held out the possibility that Hamas could come into the fold should it take the requisite steps.

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