Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Israel Expects US Move to Relaunch Negotiations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55369261

US President Donald Trump on February 3, 2017 (L); Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on January 30, 2017 (Mandel Ngan/AFP; Zacharias Abubeker/AFP)

Tel Aviv – Political circles in Israel are expecting Washington to take action on the resumption of negotiations on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Experts expect the Donald Trump administration to call for a regional peace conference which will launch new talks or lead to a summit bringing together the US president, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

The sources said that Trump personally intends to take part in the efforts to relaunch peace talks. They added that the regional summit will either be held in Amman, Jordan or the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Informed sources said Trump asked his advisors to exert all efforts to have a productive summit.

Meanwhile, sources in Tel Aviv pointed out that Trump plans to visit Israel during his first presidential year. And if there were positive developments, the summit could be held in 2017.

Yet, other sources reported that the US President would only attend the summit during which negotiations between Palestine and Israel would be launched.

Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to exert efforts in that regard, they said.

Netanyahu’s office refused to comment on the issue and the Israeli foreign ministry said it is unaware of such an initiative.

The foreign ministry said that after two months in the office, and three weeks following his talks with Netanyahu, Trump proved to have serious intentions to work for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The ministry added that though his recent phone conversation with Abbas only lasted ten minutes, Trump believes he can achieve peace through direct talks.

In addition, Trump decided to send his envoy on the peace process Jason Greenblatt to Israel to begin studying the positions of the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

By reviewing the Israeli archives, it becomes clearer on how Greenblatt, a Jewish lawyer, was appointed.

Few weeks before the US elections, Trump invited a group of Jewish media to meet him in New York.

When asked how he would describe land under Israel’s control located beyond its internationally recognized borders, Trump seemed to have no answer, telling the reporter to ask Greenblatt for having more than 20 years of experience in the real estate business.

So Greenblatt said he would not use the term “occupied territory,” but would have no problem with the term “settlements.”

Another Jew, David Friedman, was chosen as the US ambassador to Israel.

Greenblatt will begin his tour this week and it hasn’t been clarified if he will meet Netanyahu and Abbas.

He was born in New York to a Jewish family from Hungary. He studied at a West Bank yeshiva in the mid-1980s and did guard duty there and graduated from Yeshiva University.

A father of six from Teaneck, New Jersey, Greenblatt said he speaks with people involved in the Israeli government but has not spoken to any Palestinian since his yeshiva studies.

In March, he helped draft Trump’s speech at the annual conference of The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Greenblatt, who has said he supports the two-state solution, has implied that Trump will take a laissez-faire approach to peace building.

“He is not going to impose any solution on Israel,” Greenblatt told Israel’s Army Radio in November. He also said that Trump “does not view Jewish settlements as an obstacle to peace.”