Arutz Sheva spoke with Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations, following the ground-breaking Warsaw conference and in preparation the US peace plan.
How do you sum up the Warsaw conference? Is it only about countering Iran or is there really a process of normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries?
“Warsaw was an historic conference to build consensus around promoting security and prosperity across the region, and addressing common threats such as Iran. The ministerial brought together leaders from Israel and the Arab world to engage on common challenges facing the region. Dialogue and the open exchange of ideas is exactly what the region needs. More open engagement will be critical to achieving progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“Jared Kushner and I will build on Warsaw’s momentum by traveling to the region next week to consult with key stakeholders across the region about the economic component of the Administration’s vision for peace. When President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and then Israel on this first foreign trip as President in May, 2017, he set the stage for some of the progress you have seen. To make real progress, and to work toward stability in the region, it is important that the region and Israel be able to work together on multiple fronts. I think you have seen steps in that direction, but we still have a long way to go.
“We also think that these engagements help pave the way to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We know that goes against what the Palestinian Authority says publicly and we disagree with their approach. Normalization helps pave the way towards the possibility of peace. Anti-normalization is one of the stumbling blocks in the way of peace and leaves the Palestinians further and further behind.
How is the US under the current administration seen by the many Arab countries that attended the summit? Will the US be developing new relations?
“We have good friends and partners across the Arab world. These partnerships will be important as we seek to give our peace plan the best possible chance to succeed. The leaders in the region respect what President Trump is trying to achieve. Warsaw was a one step toward that goal. Our trip to the region next week will build on that momentum.”
Mr. Jared Kushner attended the summit and shared a few aspects of the upcoming peace plan. What can you tell us about this plan? We know it'll be released only after the Israeli elections, but what should we expect?
“I think you will see a plan that is fair, realistic, and implementable with enough detail where people can actually imagine how it might succeed. It will not just be just aspirational principles or slogans. We have developed it to a degree that people will clearly understand the many benefits and opportunities that can be achieved by this vision, as well as the suggested compromises. We hope that people keep an open mind and judge it on its merits. It will be up to the parties to decide if and how to move forward.”
Mr. Kushner mentioned "concessions" that will be necessary from both sides. Will the US be demanding that Israel uproot Jewish communities in so-called "controversial" areas?
“I’m not going to get into what’s in the plan, but we are not making demands of either side. We hope to be able to facilitate a deal if it is possible. I think it is clear that thus far President Trump has been perhaps the greatest president for the State of Israel in the history of the State of Israel. The vision should be reviewed in that context.”
We hear a lot about the strengthening friendship between Israel and US under the Trump Administration. Is it mainly the attitude and the personal connections, or is this something that has actual practical results 'on the field', and if so what are they?
“Under the Trump Administration, relations between the United States and Israel have never been better. Certainly, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a warm and productive relationship- President Trump has great respect for Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as a friendship. Separate from that of course, the unshakable bond between our two countries and our two peoples runs very deep. The foundation of our friendship is based on shared interests and values and a commitment to freedom and democracy.”