PA Sources: We’ll Restart Talks – But Without Greenblatt

YERUSHALAYIM -
peace process
U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt (L) meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in March. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

The only way to get the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table, PA sources said Tuesday, was to remove American special envoy Jason Greenblatt from the negotiating process. The sources told Yisrael Hayom that Greenblatt had “revealed his true feelings” in an op-ed that appeared Tuesday in the newspaper. “The Greenblatt piece clearly illustrates that the American stance is weighted towards Israel, ignoring the most legitimate demands of the Palestinians,” the source said. “We can’t sit at a negotiation session helmed by Greenblatt.”

In the op-ed, Greenblatt described the Israel-Palestinian conflict as one of many in the Middle East. “Solving it will not solve other conflicts in the region, including the conflict between Syria and Islamic State, the war in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, unrest in Libya, and the oppression of the Iranian regime against its citizens, and Iran’s encouragement of terror around the world.”

With that, solving the issues between Israel and the Palestinians is “no less important” than dealing with any other crisis, and the U.S. has dedicated significant resources to doing so. If there is to be peace, he said, “both Israelis and Palestinians will have to make hard decisions,” but “as I write these lines, the Palestinian leadership refuses to cooperate with us. This refusal began when President Trump took his brave and bold historical decision that Yerushalayim is and will remain Israel’s capital. The refusal of the Palestinian leadership to engage with us is disappointing and hurts only the Palestinians they claim to be serving. It’s troubling that the Palestinian leadership condemns in advance the administration’s peace plan, which no one has seen yet, and refuses to take steps that could help and advance all Palestinians. This approach will only keep the Palestinians from progressing, and hold them back from keeping up with their neighbors,” Greenblatt wrote.

According to the Palestinian source, Yisrael Hayom said, talks have been taking place between Palestinian Authority and American officials about the restarting of negotiations. One of the conditions of the restoration of talks, however, is the replacement of Greenblatt on the American negotiating team with someone more “objective,” the source said. “Greenblatt tried in his op-ed piece to present himself as objective, but we don’t buy it. Putting him in charge of negotiations is the height of hypocrisy.”