US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt noted that US President Donald Trump has not decided when he will reveal the Middle East peace plan. Bloomberg quoted Greenblatt as saying, “Trump had not decided whether to release the plan before or after Israel’s legislative elections scheduled for September 17th.” Greenblatt, along with Senior Adviser Jared Kushner have been drafting the Middle East peace plan for the last two years.
According to Greenblatt, the US does not wish to change the ruling regime of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen will remain the Palestinian ruler, however it is hoped he will agree to coming to the negotiation table to find a solution for the Palestinian Israeli struggle. “We do not want to change the regime in Palestine, we just want Abu Mazen to continue to engage or eventually re-engage with the Palestinian Authority,” said Greenblatt.
It was on August 4th, that PA President Abu Mazen decided to disregard all agreements with Israel as well as not abiding by the 1995 Oslo II agreement on the administrative and security level classification of areas in the West Bank. The decision came as a result of Israel’s demolition of houses at Sur Baher village on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. Abu Mazen described the demolition as “a violation of international legitimacy and agreements signed between us, an issue that can only be identified as a crime against humanity.”
Greenblatt and Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner have worked on the 60-page plan for two years. It consists of two main components: a political section that addresses core issues such as the status of Jerusalem and an economic one that aims to strengthen the Palestinian economy. Greenblatt did not say whether it calls for a two-state solution, one of the goals of past peace efforts, however he hopes it will provide a framework for renewed talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Trump must decide soon whether to unveil the plan before or after the Israeli elections, or to wait until the formation of Israel’s new government,” said Greenblatt.
Preliminary surveys reveal that there is strong competition between blocs led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former military chief Benny Gantz. The general elections which took place last April, ended in deadlock after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.
Greenblatt pointed out that the Palestinian-Israeli struggle will only be solved through direct negotiations between the two parties, otherwise there will be no solution. “Neither the US nor the UN nor the EU would be able to solve this conflict unless the two parties returned to the negotiation table,” said Greenblatt.
The special envoy noted that a comprehensive and permanent peace will not be created by international law or by unclear resolutions. The peace plan which the US will present is not going to be ambiguous, unlike many resolutions that have been passedbefore. It will provide enough detail for people to see necessary options required to accomplish a realistic, lasting, comprehensive solution to this struggle.
Greenblatt called on the Palestinians not to reject a plan they have not yet seen and to show a willingness to engage in talks with Israel. He also urged the Security Council to encourage both parties to return to the negotiating table.
Israel's upcoming elections could have a direct effect on the Palestinians, but many have little interest in who wins, having lost hope that Israel’s more than 50-year occupation will ever end no matter which party is in charge. Palestinians do not see cause for hope in the upcoming Israeli elections. Many believe that there will be no real change, indeed they are worried the campaign could lead to incitement against Palestinians.