Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) receives US President Donald Trump's Assistant and Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt (L) in Ramallah, West Bank on March 14, 2017. (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

US Negotiator Greenblatt: ‘Aiming for Home Run’

Lead US peace negotiator Jason Greenblatt told American media that his team was “aiming for a home run” that would solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He stressed that the White House was committed to a “comprehensive solution” that would include political elements in addition to the economic component of the US peace plan unveiled last month at a conference in Bahrain. Greenblatt nevertheless suggested that the timing was not yet right to release the portion of the proposal dealing with “core” issues such as the delineation of borders and the future status of Jerusalem. “We have the Israeli election [in September] and the coalition-formation looming,” he noted. “We are protecting something very delicate; we want to make sure it succeeds, and we will know the [president’s] decision [on when to move forward] pretty soon.” The envoy conceded that there was a need to restore confidence among the Palestinians and that the US “was not in the business of paying people to come to the table to negotiate something.” Critics have lambasted the Trump Administration’s decision to roll out its peace plan in stages, with Ramallah accusing Washington of attempting to buy it off. While the Palestinian Authority imposed a boycott on US officials following President Trump’s recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Jared Kushner, the architect of the American peace proposal, earlier this month stated that his boss and father-in-law was “fond of [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas…[and] likes him very much personally.” If the Palestinians are willing to engage, he continued, “I believe that they’ll find that they’ll have an opportunity. Whether they will be willing to take that opportunity will be up to them.”

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