U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt meets Benny Gantz

Meeting comes three days after the duo met Prime Minister Netanyahu.

September 24, 2019 01:12
2 minute read.
U.S. Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt meets Benny Gantz

Ambassador David Friedman and U.S. Special Representative Jason Greenblatt met this afternoon with the chairman of Israel’s Blue and White Party, General Benny Gantz. They had a cordial discussion on various topics, including the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, security challenges within. (photo credit: MATTY STERN/US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)

Outgoing US peace mediator Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman met Blue and White head Benny Gantz on Monday, three days after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a sign of a new political reality in the country following last week’s election.

The meeting, held at the US Embassy annex in Tel Aviv, was the first public meeting between Gantz and the two senior US diplomats.

An identical statement put out by Gantz’s office and the US Embassy said that they had a “cordial discussion on various topics, including the importance of the US-Israel relationship, security challenges within the region and efforts to promote peace.”

While Netanyahu said that the Trump administration would roll out its long-awaited peace plan after the election, there is no indication that this is immediately in the offing.
Senior diplomatic officials told The Jerusalem Post that the administration’s inclination now seems to be to wait until a government is formed in Israel, with whom it will be possible to discuss the plan and receive a response.

While it is now likely that the presentation of the plan will be further delayed, it is assumed that the Americans are sharing their thoughts about it with major political actors seeking details during the coalition negotiations.

The White House announced earlier this month that Greenblatt – currently in the country for meetings and to attend the wedding of Friedman’s daughter on Sunday – will be stepping down after the release of the plan. A few days later, however, he hinted that he may be staying on even after the launch.

“Although I have announced my departure, I am trying to stay until the plan is launched,” Greenblatt said at an event in New York.  “If the plan is launched soon, I will stay. And if the plan is launched and we get traction, I hope to stay longer, and I have my family’s support for it.”

A piece that Greenblatt wrote for CNN on Friday, however, was headlined “Trump Mideast envoy: A hopeful, bittersweet goodbye,” and read as if he intended to step down sooner rather than later.

“After more than 960 days working for our great nation from the White House, nine months longer than I had planned, I arrived at the decision that the time had come to begin the transition back to my family and the private sector,” he wrote.

Greenblatt wrote that he was “hopeful that our passionate peace team successfully continues to implement our vision for peace,” and that “everyone will now look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict in a new, realistic light and envision a world in which lasting peace is attainable.”

He added that “nothing is perfect, and compromises are necessary,” but that he was “deeply hopeful that the vision we created will appeal to Israelis and Palestinians enough to start down the hard road of negotiating a peace agreement, and that peace extends to the countries in the region beyond Jordan and Egypt.”

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