Greenblatt hails ‘productive’ meet with Netanyahu amid ongoing Palestinian snub
US President Donald Trump’s special advisor on the Middle East peace process, Jason Greenblatt, met Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss peace talks with the Palestinians, who have continued to boycott Washington over its controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Had a very productive meeting with Netanyahu and his senior staff today to discuss peace talks,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.
Had a very productive meeting with @netanyahu and his senior staff today to discuss peace efforts.— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) January 28, 2018
Earlier Sunday, Greenblatt toured a tunnel dug by Palestinian militants under the Gaza border and slammed the enclave’s ruling Hamas for allocating resources to bolster its military capabilities rather than the humanitarian needs of the Strip’s 1.5 million citizens.
“Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. “Hamas spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better!”
Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing. Hamas spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better! pic.twitter.com/nQGvqwo9gb— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) January 28, 2018
Greenblatt has remained in the region where he is working to revive peace efforts, which hit a wall in the wake of Trump’s December 6 backing of Israel’s claim over Jerusalem -- the status of which is a flashpoint issue in peace talks.
The Palestinians have since the announcement rejected the United States as an appropriate negotiator, and Trump has taken a decidedly bellicose stance regarding the snub, freezing a $65 million funding package to the Palestinians and conditioning further aid on their return to the negotiating table.
"They have to want to make peace or we’re not going to have anything to do with [aid] any longer," Trump said ahead of a meeting with Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week.
Netanyahu, for his part, has hailed Trump’s efforts and praised his “very able team” of peacemakers, led by his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner along with Greenblatt.
In a CNN interview from Davos that aired Sunday, Netanyahu called the team “very creative” and equipped with “many, many abilities” that will serve them well in their efforts to broker a deal.
“The thing the people don’t realize is that these people have made their mark in the markets, in real estate. Now, this is not only a real estate deal, it’s fundamentally not a real estate deal but a problem recognizing Israel’s existence, the problem of not recognizing a Jewish state in any boundary. But it also has its real estate elements and they are, I have to say, very creative,” Netanyahu said in the interview.
Netanyahu also dismissed the Palestinians’ rejection of the United States as an appropriate mediator, calling it a “fantasy” to think that any other country could lead successful negotiations.
“You want peace? Get your act together. See what the United States offer is and get in a room and negotiate,” he said.
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