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U.S. Envoy for Middle East negotiations Jason Greenblatt on a visit in Israel.(Photo by: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Greenblatt to Erekat: 'Get serious' and 'use your intellect'
By HERB KEINON
02/06/2019
US envoy, PLO officials extend twitter spat to 6th day.
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat needs to “get serious” and use his “intellect,” US Mideast negotiator Jason Greenblatt posted on Twitter on Wednesday, as a sharp social media exchange between him and Palestinian officials entered its sixth day.
 
“Saeb: I saw your many tweets today. Your fears/emotions show – that won’t help Palestinians. I don’t agree w/ your assertions & you have offered no realistic solutions. Time to get serious & use your intellect. Palestinians deserve it. My door is open - don’t waste more time,” he tweeted.
 
Greenblatt was responding to an angry twitter thread that Erekat unleashed on Tuesday, including a couple of tweets that were deleted from the thread on Erekat’s account.
 
“The US so called peace team not only added to the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, but has destroyed any chance of peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” Erekat wrote on Monday in a tweet that no longer appears on his Twitter feed.
 
That thread, however, still does include withering criticism of the Trump administration for supporting Israeli settlement activities; supporting the “Israeli racist Nationalism law;” terminating “all aid to Palestinian people, including hospitals schools, NGOs;” punishing nations supporting and voting “for Palestine in the UN and other international agencies;” and waging “smear campaigns” with “more than 27 draft laws in Congress against Palestinians.”
 
He finished his thread with this: “It should be noted that prime minister netanyahoo [sic] was the one who suspended the bilateral negotiations and still refuse to resume it.”
 
The Palestinians cut off contact with Greenblatt and the US administration following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and the move of the embassy to Jerusalem.
 
Greenblatt has traded pointed tweets with Erekat and PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi since Friday, when the US stopped paying more than $60 million annually for a funding and training program for the PA’s security services because of the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act.
 
That law stipulates that those who receive US aid will come under jurisdiction of US courts in terror-related lawsuits. As a result of that law coming into effect on February 1, the PA said it would forgo receiving US financial aid.
 
Greenblatt and the PLO officials also disagreed Wednesday after Trump’s State of the Union Address, where  he made only one brief mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
“One of the most complex set of challenges we face, and have for many years, is in is the Middle East,” Trump said. “Our approach is based on principle, realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my Administration recognized the true capital of Israel – and proudly opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem.”
 
Greenblatt tweeted a 42-second clip of those comments and, in reference to the Jerusalem move, wrote, “Promise made… promise kept.”
 
Erekat, on the other hand, wrote of Trump’s words, “With these position[s] and stands there are no doors open, no one will knock on illusionary fake doors.”
 
And Ashrawi had this to say: “What’s worse than committing a crime?” she tweeted. “Bragging about it; making a mistake? Insisting on repeating it. Displaying total ignorance? Willfully embracing it. Some promises should never have been made in the first place, let alone kept!”
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