Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason D. Greenblatt.
(photo credit: WHITE HOUSE)
WASHINGTON – Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt says that the peace team is “aiming for a home run” that will solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered.
“We are aiming for a comprehensive solution,” he told the radio program. “I am not saying we would hit the home run, but we are aiming for the home run.” He added that interim solutions have been examined in the past and that the current administration is trying to combine a political solution to the conflict with an economic one.
Greenblatt added that the administration has yet to make a decision about when it will release the plan.
“We have the Israeli election and the coalition formation looming, and the president has not made a decision yet,” he said. “We are protecting something very delicate, we want to make sure it succeeds, and we will know the decision pretty soon.”
Asked if the Trump administration might consider continuing with some aid programs that were stopped over the past two years, Greenblatt said it depends on the Palestinian reaction to the peace plan.
“If there is political engagement once we reveal the political plan, then we will certainly look into restoring certain things,” he said. “But at the moment, when we don’t only have non-engagement, but boycotts and insults [of] the president, that is not a wise way to spend US taxpayer money when there is no positive momentum.”
He reacted to a poll that showed that some 90% of the Palestinians do not trust the Trump administration, adding that he doesn’t think the administration needs to take any specific step to restore their confidence.
“We don’t need to restore confidence among the Palestinians before the political plan is out there,” Greenblatt said. “It is all about the political plan. We are not in the business of paying people to come to the table to negotiate something.”
“We would love to have relations of trust and confidence,” he continued, “but it’s their choice; we will not give them carrots or goodies to come to the table – it never succeeded before.”
Asked about remarks by former ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who said that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas are not willing to sign a peace deal, the special envoy responded: “I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is a leader who can get this done. I also think that President Abbas is a strong leader with a lot of respect from his people. And if he’s willing to re-engage and look at the plan with an open mind – as Netanyahu said he would – he also has the strength to get through this. But he has not done any favors by continuing to disconnect from the US.”
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