US special representative due in Israel Wednesday for peace talks

US President Trump and PA President Mahmoud Abbas have exchanged scorching rhetoric over the role and leadership of the other.

January 17, 2018 03:17
1 minute read.
US President's envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt meeting with PA leader Mahmud Abbas

US President's envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / PPO / THAER GHANAIM)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations will arrive in Israel on Wednesday for what in the past has typically been a routine meeting with envoys from the Quartet on Middle East peace, composed of the US, EU, UN and Russia.

A senior White House official tells The Jerusalem Post that Jason Greenblatt “will be attending a regular meeting of the Quartet envoys to exchange information and continue our engagement on advancing peace.”

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But the visit by Greenblatt, who is leading the daily effort within the White House to forge a US-led peace plan, comes at a time of crisis in relations between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority.

Trump and Mahmoud Abbas have exchanged scorching rhetoric over each other’s role and leadership, with the PA president in particular unloading on the US administration in a speech last weekend.

In recent months, the US has shifted several key policies toward the Palestinians against their wishes, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, threatening to close the PLO offices in Washington, and warning of broad cuts in assistance to the PA and the international bodies that aid them.

On Tuesday, Trump officials announced they would be cutting US assistance to the UN Relief and Works Agency, devotes to aiding Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in half.

Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, the president’s sonin- law and senior adviser broadly running the White House peace effort, believe their plan will ultimately appeal to the Palestinians.

The three other Quartet members have opposed virtually every move the administration has taken on the portfolio in recent months.

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