Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for five hours on Monday with Jason Greenblatt, a lawyer who was appointed chief negotiator for international affairs by President Donald Trump.
According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, Netanyahu expressed his interest in working with the Trump administration to “advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region.”
Greenblatt reaffirmed Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security, as well as his desire to help Israel and the Palestinians achieve peace through direct negotiations.
While addressing the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC during the presidential race last year, Trump observed that “it’s really the parties that must negotiate a resolution themselves,” rather than have one imposed by third parties. He also said that his administration would be willing to serve as a “facilitator” for peace talks.
Trump also emphasized this approach in a phone call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week, telling Abbas according to a White House readout that “a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties,” and that “the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other.”
Greenblatt also told Netanyahu that Trump considered steps “enabling the growth of the Palestinian economy and improving the quality of life for Palestinians” to be very important. Netanyahu, in turn, said that he was “fully committed” to improving Palestinian prosperity as he saw it as “a means of bolstering the prospects for peace.”
Trump’s interest in boosting the Palestinian economy appears to be supported by his use of Palestinian billionaire, Adnan Mjalli, as an intermediary with Abbas.
Greenblatt met with Abbas on Tuesday, calling the exchange “positive” and “far-ranging” on Twitter. He also said that the two discussed “building capacity of Palestinian security forces & stopping incitement.”
Nikki Haley, Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, told Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour last week that his government should “meet with Israel in direct negotiations rather than looking to the UN to deliver results that can only be achieved through the two parties.”
[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]