Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced the departure of his special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt.
“After almost 3 years in my Administration, Jason Greenblatt will be leaving to pursue work in the private sector. Jason has been a loyal and great friend and fantastic lawyer,” wrote President Trump. “His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won’t be forgotten. He will be missed. Thank you Jason!”
Greenblatt has been called an architect of the Trump administration’s much awaited peace plan for the Middle East. The departure of Greenblatt may signal that the Trump administration’s peace plan is in place, and Greenblatt’s departure is owing to the fact that his job is done.
Axios has reported that Greenblatt will remain at the White House “another few weeks until the launch of the political side of the peace plan, which is expected shortly after the Israeli elections on Sept. 17.”
Greenblatt met with leaders in the Middle East throughout the past two years as part of ongoing negotiations for peace. Among his meetings, Greenblatt visited with Israelis and Palestinians as part of the process in restarting peace talks.
“President Trump has made it clear that working towards achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him,” said one U.S. official in a report on one of Greenblatt’s early visits.
Greenblatt was originally supposed to serve for two years on the White House peace team, but ended up serving almost three.
Greenblatt oversaw the Trump administration’s official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the long promised transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Greenblatt reportedly played a role in recognizing that the fears of violence cited by many politicians for failing to move the embassy were unjustified.
Greenblatt was also involved in the decision to defund the United Nations Refugee Works Administration — a UN agency dedicated to subsidizing Palestinian refugees that effectively absolved Palestinian leaders of accountability for their decisions and spurred further conflict. UNRWA has also employed Hamas operatives, and many of its leaders abused the donations, behaving as if they were personal slush funds.
Greenblatt’s negotiations revealed that even Palestinian negotiators acknowledge that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected an Israeli offer to return territory equivalent to more than 100 percent of the West Bank.
“Israel is doing the best that it possibly can under very challenging circumstances,” Greenblatt said when asked to comment during ongoing negotiations.
Greenblatt, who previously worked as an attorney for the Trump administration, is said to be returning to New Jersey to rejoin his wife and six children.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have worked in the White House for over two and a half years under the leadership of President Trump,” Greenblatt told Axios. “I am incredibly grateful to have been part of a team that drafted a vision for peace. This vision has the potential to vastly improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region. I would like to thank my incredible wife Naomi and my amazing six children for their strength and encouragement. I will thoroughly miss working with my friends and colleagues Jared Kushner, David Friedman and Avi Berkowitz, as well as the many other dedicated individuals within the US government who were instrumental in our efforts.”
Deputy Assistant to the President Avrahm Berkowitz, an attorney and advisor to White House advisor Jared Kushner, is reported to be assuming some of Greenblatt’s previous White House responsibilities. Brian Hook, the Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has also been reported to be assuming some of the responsibilities in the ongoing Middle East peace process.
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