US peace envoy: Israeli-Palestinian peace is Iran’s worst nightmare

US peace envoy: Israeli-Palestinian peace is Iran’s worst nightmare

Jason Greenblatt says Tehran’s aggression has brought Arab nations and Israel together to an unprecedented degree, urges global community to back Trump plan

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

US Envoy Jason Greenblatt speaks at the Israel Hayom forum in Jerusalem on June 27, 2019. (Gideon Markovitz)
US Envoy Jason Greenblatt speaks at the Israel Hayom forum in Jerusalem on June 27, 2019. (Gideon Markovitz)

US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, have penned an opinion piece in which they criticize Iran for supporting Palestinian terror groups, saying the regime has exploited the conflict with Israel to advance its own regional schemes.

In the jointly written article published by Fox news on Tuesday, the two advisers said peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be “Iran’s worst nightmare.”

Greenblatt and and Hook wrote that Iran, with its support for the Hamas terror group as a method to counter Washington’s peace efforts, is producing a “warped vision for the Palestinian people — one that offers nothing but increased violence, devastation and despair.”

Their remarks came amid increased US diplomacy ahead of the expected roll-out of the Trump administration peace plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The economic part of the plan was unveiled last month and then discussed at a Bahrain workshop attended by Arab states from across the Middle East — but not the Israelis or the Palestinians.

“The Iranian regime has exploited the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades — profiting from the chaos, violence, and ineffective stopgaps to advance its malign activities and influence in the region,” the two wrote.

Hamas, an Islamic terror group that seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and has been the de facto ruler of the enclave ever since.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets with Brian Hook, the US State Department’s special representative for Iran, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on November 15, 2018. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Greenblatt and Hook cited Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, who recently said “If it wasn’t for Iran being present — Iranian soldiers, money, support for Hamas and jihadis that take control of Gaza — we’d have been much closer to achieving a better peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Greenblatt and Hook said, “The Iranian regime’s regional aggression has brought the Arab nations and Israel together to an unprecedented degree.” This, they asserted, was leading to cooperation that is advancing diplomatic relations, “including peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The international community “should be rooting for the Trump administration’s peace vision and the future generations of Israelis and Palestinians who have suffered from this decades-old conflict,” they wrote.

“A successful comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is among the important tools we have to help bring regional stability and prevent Iranian terror. It would be Iran’s worst nightmare.”

The US has so far kept the political elements of its plan under wraps.

The Palestinians skipped the Bahrain conference and have rejected the peace plan outright, pressing on with their boycott of the administration since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and cut Palestinian aid. Palestinian leadership said Washington was attempting to sweeten what they believe will be a bad political deal with economic incentives.

Israel was not invited to attend the workshop. After a discussion between American and Bahraini officials, the organizers reportedly concluded that Israeli political leaders should not be invited, in part because Israel is currently led by an interim caretaker government ahead of the September 17 elections.

The United States is said to planning another conference with Arab leaders at Camp David, during which US President Donald Trump will roll out some details of his peace plan.

Invitations to the conference will be extended by Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, as he visits Israel and the Middle East this week to drum up support for the plan, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Wednesday.

No date was given for the proposed summit, but it is set to be held before the general elections in Israel, the report said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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