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US Envoy Asserts Secretly Meeting Palestinian Officials

US Envoy Asserts Secretly Meeting Palestinian Officials

Monday, 15 July, 2019 - 10:00
Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner (left) and US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt (right) (File Photo: Reuters)
Ramallah - Asharq Al-Awsat

US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt has announced that he secretly meets Palestinians concerned with ending the conflict all time, without specifying their identities. 

Greenblatt stated that he is careful not to reveal who was involved in the talks.

“Everyone, when he leaves the office, asks me not to reveal his identity. This is unfortunate, but this is the truth. They give us hope that we can overcome the conflict and are interested in resolving the conflict, but they do not talk.”

The envoy’s statement reveals US officials are in contact with Palestinians despite the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) decision to boycott the US administration.

Greenblatt met with Palestinian businessmen, some being academics or journalists living abroad and some internal collaborators, who have little effect.

After controversy over his statement and local media reports that he had met with PA officials, Greenblatt made a denial on his Twitter account.

“The Palestinians I meet with are not there on behalf of the PA or President Abbas & they're not rebelling against President Abbas. They're ordinary people who simply want better lives.”

Greenblatt's comments were linked to an Israeli report which quoted a Palestinian official as saying that letters between Ramallah and Washington had recently been exchanged to end Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's boycott of US President Donald Trump and his team, including his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

A Palestinian delegation chaired by head of the PA General Intelligence Service Majed Faraj is expected to leave for Washington soon to meet with senior US officials following recent secret talks and discussions between close associates of Trump and Abbas, according to an official. However, Palestinian officials and Greenblatt denied such reports.

Since 2017, the PA has boycotted Washington after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced his intention to move the US embassy to the city despite its internationally disputed status.

The boycott grew into hostility after Trump took a series of subsequent steps, such as cutting all financial aid to the Palestinians, shutting Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in Washington, and its unlimited support for Israel on issues that previous US administrations avoided supporting Tel Aviv on.

Sec-Gen of PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat warned that the US administration’s policies have pushed the possibility of a comprehensive and just peace to a dead end.

He accused the US administration of breaking international law and legitimacy in its decisions on the Palestinian issue.

Erekat was speaking after his meeting with a delegation of 28 professors from US and European universities.

He indicated that the US and Israel aim to destroy the two-state principle in favor of further establishing the occupation under the apartheid.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused the US of carrying out the plans of the occupation and the far-right in Israel.

It issued a statement saying the Trump team protects the occupation from accountability, violating international laws, United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of international peace and signed agreements.

The ministry confirmed that it will continue to discuss the possibility of legal action.

The statement attacked Greenblatt’s recent media remarks in which he rejected the term “settlement,” referring to them as “neighborhoods” or “cities”.

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