Trump Mideast envoy warns Israel may not fully embrace 'ultimate deal'
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Despite Palestinian aversion to US President Donald Trump’s long-anticipated “ultimate deal”, as he has has branded it, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt says the American administration is also ready for criticism from the Israeli side concerning the proposed peace plan.
“We’re going to have to defend the plan to Israelis and Palestinians. We are ready for criticism from all sides, but we believe this is the best path forward for everyone,” he reportedly told Reuters in an interview.
While there were no hints of what concessions Israel might have to make, the comments echo Trump’s last month stating that “in the negotiation Israel will have to pay a higher price because they won a very big thing,” referring to his administration’s decision to break with decades-old policy in moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
Trump’s envoy also failed to provide information on a timeline for rolling out the proposed peace plan, aside from saying that it was in a “pre-launch phase” and quelling expectations that the proposal would be disclosed this month at the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
Meanwhile, in an interview marking 25 years since the signing of the largely immaterialized Oslo Accords, Greenblatt’s cohort in the in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner sought to elevate the peace initiative led with Greenblatt and further distance themselves from previous efforts, the New York Times reported Thursday.
“There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed,” said Kushner. “All we’re doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace.”
But the envoys’ task seems all the more challenging in the wake of key unilateral American policy decisions that have exasperated Palestinian leaders, including the closure of the their Washington mission this past week in addition to substantial aid cut-off.
In recent weeks, the United States has cut more than $200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians as well as cancelled its support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
“Nobody is entitled to America’s foreign aid,” Kushner said, adding that years of funding to the Palestinians came without a vision towards making them self-reliant.
But there are real doubts as to whether Palestinians will take the Trump administration’s proposal seriously, as they repeatedly explained that they would not be blackmailed or pressured into reaching a peace deal.
The top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat previously told Al Jazeera that the PA "would put on hold all our communications with this American administration" if the office is closed and reject its role as a mediator in the peace process.
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I have issues when “top” negotiator says no across the board. 5 generations of pals thinking they have a right of return. The plan was to turn Israel into a non Jewish state. It’s been exposed.