Trump’s Mideast envoy meets UN Security Council, offers no details on peace plan
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Trump’s Mideast envoy meets UN Security Council, offers no details on peace plan

World body also discusses Jerusalem’s decision to withhold tax transfers from Palestinian Authority for payments to terrorists; only US backs Israel

US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt attends a press conference regarding the water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, on July 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt attends a press conference regarding the water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, on July 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

UNITED NATIONS — US President Donald Trump’s Middle East adviser Jason Greenblatt met with the UN Security Council on Friday but gave no details of a much-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, diplomats said.

“There were no details,” Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi told reporters after the closed-door meeting. “There was a discussion from our side about the plan.”

The plan is expected to be released after the Israeli elections in April, but the Palestinians have already rejected it as biased in favor of Israel.

The Palestinians have refused to talk to the Trump administration since the US president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

They see the eastern part of the disputed city as the capital of their future state and have said Washington’s pro-Israel bias meant the US could no longer be the main mediator in stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Greenblatt did not answer questions from reporters after the meeting.

The council also discussed, at the request of Kuwait and Indonesia, Israel’s decision to withhold tax transfers from the Palestinian Authority over its payments to terrorists jailed for attacks on Israelis.

“This is Palestinian money. They shouldn’t withhold it,” said the Kuwaiti ambassador.

Diplomats said the United States was a lone voice in defense of Israel at the closed-door council meeting, with the Europeans and others arguing that the payments should resume.

In February, the security cabinet approved the implementation of a law to cut over half a billion shekels in funds to the Palestinian Authority over its payments to terrorists and their families.

Applying the law has faced opposition from the security establishment, who worry it could destabilize the situation in the West Bank.

Ori Ansbacher, who was murdered in Jerusalem February 7, 2019 (Courtesy)

But the government was moved to act following the brutal murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher  in a terrorist attack.

A statement from the security cabinet said that ministers agreed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could withhold NIS 502,697,000 ($138 million) in PA tax revenues, the amount Israeli officials say the PA paid out in stipends to attackers and their families in 2018.

Israel collects around $127 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports, and then transfers the money to the PA.

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