Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt is in the Middle East to learn more about the region as a step towards a possible diplomatic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Monday for over five hours with Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations.
On Tuesday, Greenblatt met with PA President Abbas in Ramallah.
Greenblatt is in the country for a week-long visit, “to do a lot of listening, discussing the views of the leadership in the region, getting their perspectives on the current situation and how progress towards eventual peace can be made,” as State Department spokesman Mark Toner put it. He added this is, “the first of what could become many visits to the region.”
Netanyahu and Greenblatt reaffirmed the joint commitment of both Israel and the US to advance, “a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region,” the Prime Minister’s Office stated.
Abbas reportedly told Greenblatt that “he believes that under President Trump’s leadership a historic peace deal is possible, and that it will enhance security throughout the region.”
A statement from the Palestinian Authority noted that “Abbas is committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement.”
Netanyahu told Greenblatt he believes under Trump’s leadership, it is possible to advance an encompassing regional diplomatic solution, which includes several Arab countries, as well as the Palestinians, and that he looks forward to working closely with Trump to achieve that goal.
Greenblatt reaffirmed Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security and to the effort to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations.
Netanyahu and Greenblatt also discussed Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria in the hope of “working out an approach that is consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security.”
While Trump expressed general support for Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria and even for construction there, he asked Netanyahu during his recent visit to Washington to curb the pace of expansion.
Greenblatt stressed President Trump believes in the importance of both growth in the Palestinian economy and improving their quality of life.
Netanyahu assured Greenblatt he was fully committed to broadening prosperity for Palestinians and sees it as a means of bolstering the prospects for peace.
Israel has taken several steps to improve the lives of the Palestinians, who live under a corrupt government in the Palestinian Authority and under an oppressive one under Hamas in Gaza.
‘The Time Has Come to Make a Deal’
Prior to his White House role, Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew from Teaneck, N.J., worked as a real estate lawyer with Trump for two decades. He also advised Trump on Israel during last year’s election campaign.
Greenblatt’s meetings come just days after Trump invited Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas to visit the White House following their first phone conversation since Trump took office in January.
During the conversation with Abbas, Trump, “emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal,” according to the White House. Trump underscored a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal. The President noted the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other, the White House stated.
In recent years, the Palestinians have avoided direct negotiations with Israel, while seeking to generate international pressure on the Jewish State to accept a unilateral solution.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News