U.S. President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, fired back at Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator, Saeb Erekat, after he accused Greenblatt of adopting Israel’s position on key issues and serving as a de facto spokesman for the Israeli government.
“Saeb Erakat's personal attack on me is a symptom of the difficulties in the path to peace. Saeb knows there’s no truth to his accusation. This outburst, like all his recent outbursts, is merely intended as a distraction from the important work that lies ahead,” Greenblatt tweeted on Friday.
“But this empty, self-indulgent rhetoric won’t stop us from trying. Saeb: It’s time to time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere!” he added.
Erekat had penned a letter to all foreign diplomats stationed in Ramallah, denouncing Greenblatt and urging the diplomats to press the International Criminal Court at The Hague to charge Israel over “ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestine”.
In the letter, which was first obtained by Haaretz, Erekat accused Greenblatt of adopting Israeli “talking points” and blaming “Palestinians under occupation” for the recent spate of violence in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
“During the past few weeks, Mr. Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s envoy, has released several statements on the ongoing attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza whereby he has assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli Authorities,” wrote Erekat.
Tens of thousands of rioters have gathered on the Israeli-Gaza border, clashing with Israeli security personnel in a series of violent demonstrations which began on March 30 and are expected to run through May 15. 33 Gazans, including 14 with ties to terror groups including Hamas, have been killed while attempting to cross over into Israeli territory or commit attacks on Israeli forces.
Dubbed the “March of Return”, the demonstrations have prompted fears of infiltrations into Israeli towns along the Gaza frontier, leading the IDF to deploy snipers along the border. Israel has warned demonstrators not to approach the security fence, warning that soldiers will use live fire if necessary to prevent a breakthrough into Israeli territory.
The Hamas terror organization, which rules Gaza, has encouraged residents to participate in the violent clashes.