It is time for the Palestinians to be served by leaders other than Saeb Erekat, who for the last 40 years has voiced the same talking points and failed to deliver “anything close” to what the Palestinians want, US Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt wrote on Sunday.Greenblatt, who on a number of occasions has been the target of Erekat’s angry rhetorical fusillades, took to the offensive in a Haaretz piece headlined, “Trump Mideast envoy: The Palestinians deserve so much more than Saeb Erekat.”“Dr. Erekat – we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement,” he wrote.“Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better. The time for leadership and responsibility is now. The time for meeting after meeting of government officials repeating the same talking points is over. The Palestinian people want real action, and they need honest, realistic and decisive solutions.”Greenblatt wrote that notions that Israel is going away, or that Jerusalem is not the country’s capital, or that the United States is not a critical interlocutor for Mideast peace are all simply “mirages.”“The reality is that there is an opportunity for peace at hand, and that President Trump and his administration are working to help facilitate a peace that will open up the future of the Palestinian people, if they and their leadership have the courage to seize it,” he concluded.
The trigger for the piece was an article Erekat wrote on May 17, following the move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the most violent day of rioting along the Gaza security fence, when 62 Palestinians were killed. Erekat accused the US of “moral bankruptcy and complicity with Israel,” and accused Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of becoming “nothing less than spokespeople for the Israeli occupation.”“US officials decided to conduct the illegal act of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem on the eve of Nakba Day. That showed their support for the occupation and provided recognition for Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem,” Erekat wrote.
The U.S. officially opens its embassy in Jerusalem as dozens killed in Gaza protests, May 14, 2018 (Reuters)