PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, in Ramallah. Is he Israel’s fearless friend in Washington?.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- A senior Trump administration official is traveling to the region Sunday night in an effort to diffuse an escalating crisis over the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.
Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, will "support efforts to reduce tensions" in consultation with White House national security officials, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser tasked with leading a Mideast peace effort.
“President Trump and his administration are closely following unfolding events in the region," a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post
. “The United States utterly condemns the recent terrorist violence including the horrific attack Friday night
that killed three people at their Shabbat dinner table in Halamish and sends condolences to the families of the innocent victims. We are engaged in discussions with the relevant parties and are committed to finding a resolution to the ongoing security issues.”
White House officials have kept quiet publicly as events on the ground have gone from bad to worse: A shooting attack on the holy plateau
, ground zero for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, led Israeli officials last week to introduce metal detectors at the site's entrances. Protests ensued around the Arab world over the security measure, and in Jerusalem and the West Bank, riots led to several Palestinian deaths.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas cuts off ties with Israel
And as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared an end to security cooperation with Israel
on Friday night, one Palestinian murdered three Jewish civilians in their kitchen on Shabbat— an act the perpetrator attributed to recent events on social media. Israel is demolishing the attacker's home.
The US said it was "very concerned" over the situation last Wednesday, before blood began to spill. The State Department has called on both sides to refrain from taking any "escalatory steps" or from changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.