Trump’s Mideast Envoy Slams Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Calls For New Palestinian Voices
U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy in charge of jump-starting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks slammed the Palestinian Authority’s long-time chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, accusing him, and the PA, in general, of prolonging the conflict by pursuing over and over again the same failed policies while promoting a society devoid of free speech. In an opinion piece published in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Jason Greenblatt took Erekat—who in May wrote a scathing article in the same periodical denouncing the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—to task, writing, “Dr. Erekat, we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement. Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better. The time for leadership and responsibility is now,” he continued, “the time for meeting after meeting of government officials repeating the same talking points is over.” Greenblatt also partially blamed Ramallah for the crisis in the Gaza Strip, arguing that, “When Dr. Erekat and the Palestinian Authority are finally ready to reject Hamas’ violence and lies and work with us to bring relief to Gaza, we believe real progress could be made that would lay the foundation for a more hopeful future.” The war-of-words comes at one of the lowest-ever points in U.S.-Palestinian relations, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas having effectively imposed a boycott on American officials in the wake of President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration in December. Nevertheless, the White House has completed its 18-months-in-the-making peace proposal and reportedly intends to present it shortly after Ramadan ends in one week’s time.