Greenblatt says Israel should not annex, at least before peace plan comes out

US envoy Jason Greenblatt  says Israel should not move ahead with possible plans to annex parts of the West Bank, at least before the Trump administration’s peace plan comes out.

“I don’t think anyone should make unilateral moves until we at least reveal the plan. I don’t think that’s helpful to anybody,” he tells Channel 12 news.

Greenblatt, speaking from a Chabad house in the US in an interview taped Monday evening, confirms to the news channel that Israeli officials will not be present at the Bahrain economic workshop.

“To depoliticize the issue, we have decided to not have the Israeli government there and just have the Israeli private sector there,” he says.

He adds that Israeli officials will be brought in at a later point and will “be very helpful in the ideas that are generated and improve them as well.”

While expressing confidence in Israel and chiding the Palestinian Authority for boycotting the conference, he cautions against possible West Bank annexation plans, but does not discount a move being made once the administration’s long-awaited peace plan is revealed.

He defends the workshop as one part of a two-part scheme meant to plan for what economic benefits Palestinians can enjoy if a peace deal is reached, and says claims that the workshop is for an economic peace are “completely untrue.”

He says he is not disappointed in the Palestinians because he is not surprised by their decision to stay away from the meeting.

“They make decisions not helpful not only for peace, but also for their people,” he says of the PA.

Asked about the plan possibly failing, he says “I do think that we have to try to work toward something, but if we fail I understand why as well,” without elaborating.

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