Trump envoy: Israel has right to retain parts of Judea, Samaria

Jason Greenblatt backs Friedman's comments on Israel retaining part of Judea & Samaria, suggests US will delay peace plan until November.

David Rosenberg,

Jason Greenblatt at Jerusalem Post Conference
Jason Greenblatt at Jerusalem Post Conference
Marc Israel Sellem

The Trump administration is considering pushing off the release of its much-anticipated Middle East peace plan until after Israel’s second legislative election in 2019, after planning to unveil the framework this summer, a senior administration official said Sunday.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference Sunday evening, White House envoy Jason Greenblatt said the administration may hold back on releasing its ‘Deal of the Century’ plan for the Middle East until November.

“It is no secret that the Israeli elections have certainly put a new thought into our head. If the elections hadn’t been called again, perhaps we would have released” the plan “over the summer.”

“We haven’t made a decision on whether to delay now, potentially until as late November 6th. But we’ll decide that after Bahrain,” said Greenblatt, referring to the upcoming “workshop” in Bahrain during which the US is expected to present the economic portions of its peace plan.

During the interview, Greenblatt also expressed support for US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s recent comments to The New York Times in which he said Israel had the right to retain some of Judea and Samaria in a final status arrangement.

"Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank," Friedman said last week, avoiding use of the word “annexation”.

On Sunday, Greenblatt backed Friedman’s comments.

"I will let David’s comments stand for themselves, I think he said them elegantly and I support his comment,” Greenblatt said Sunday.

Greenblatt also appeared to push back on criticism of Friedman’s comments, saying the ambassador’s actual statement had been misrepresented in the media.

“As far as what David said in The New York Times interview, I would focus on what he said, as opposed to the headline in the article and what The New York Times and others have interpreted that he said.”

The US had originally planned on presenting the deal, which aims to achieve a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of a larger regional peace, this summer, following Israel’s April 9th Knesset election, and the formation of a new Israeli government.

But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu failed to secure majority support for a new government, sending Israel back to new elections, the first time the country has had repeat elections in its history.

The new election, which will select members of the 22nd Knesset, will take place on September 17th, with a new government likely to be formed by the end of October.




top