Despite stepping down, US peace envoy hints he may not be done brokering
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Despite stepping down, US peace envoy hints he may not be done brokering

Jason Greenblatt says he will stick around at least until Trump administration rolls out Israeli-Palestinian proposal he helped write

US Middle East Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards gala at Carnegie Hall, in New York, on March 28, 2019. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
US Middle East Peace Envoy Jason Greenblatt at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards gala at Carnegie Hall, in New York, on March 28, 2019. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Despite announcing his departure from the White House to spend time with his family, US Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt has said he may stay on to see the administration’s peace proposal through.

Washington has said it will wait until after the Israeli elections on September 17 to roll out its much-awaited plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Although I have announced my departure, I am trying to stay until the plan is launched,” Greenblatt told an event in New York, according to Jewish Insider. “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.”

Greenblatt, a former lawyer with the Trump Organization, has been working for the last two and a half years on the administration’s peace plan together with the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. The White House announced last week that the envoy would be stepping down to return to New Jersey to be with his wife and six children.

In New York, Greenblatt revealed that the Trump administration discussed presenting the peace plan even before the previous elections in Israel on April 9 but decided to wait as Washington officials felt it would not “be appreciated” in Israel if the administration was perceived as favoring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The elections failed to produce a coalition and Netanyahu dissolved parliament, calling a fresh vote for September and leading Washington to delay the plan’s release.

Netanyahu has said that he expects US President Donald Trump to release the plan days after the coming election.

However, though noting that he was not contradicting Netanyahu’s prediction, Greenblatt said Washington has not yet decided whether to publicize the plan before the next Israeli government is formed, a process that could take several weeks.

“I think there’s a good possibility that we will put it out after the election,” Greenblatt said. “But I think we have to wait and see what happens with the election and what happens in the weeks following the election — in terms of what the coalition-building looks like. So no decision has been made yet.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the US will present its peace plan within weeks. The economic part of the plan was reviewed during a June economic conference in Bahrain that was not attended by Israeli or Palestinian officials.

Greenblatt will be replaced by Avi Berkowitz, a senior aide to Kushner who has been present in many of the meetings and discussions related to the peace proposal.

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