In a series of tweets in which Greenblatt congratulated Israel following the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the envoy said it was now time to move forward. The embassy move caused widespread anger among Palestinians and in the Muslim world, and the Palestinians have effectively been boycotting US officials since the move was announced.
“I also have a message to all our friends in the region — Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Jews, and also to many others around the world, who regularly contact me to offer their support for @potus and our administration and our efforts to reach a peace agreement — the time has come to open a new chapter,” Greenblatt wrote in the tweets in Hebrew and Arabic.
The administration has been resisting congressional demands to fully close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington because Greenblatt and Kushner want to keep that channel open in case the Palestinians are open to re-entering negotiations with Israel based on the plan. The office was ordered closed by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last November, but has been allowed to stay open for limited purposes under the administration’s interpretation of the law requiring it to be shut down in the absence of peace talks.
Yet any Palestinian willingness to even consider the plan would require conditions to improve and anger to subside considerably in the coming weeks, an unlikely scenario as the Palestinians say evidence of one-sided Trump giveaways to Israel continues to pile up. US allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf also have felt compelled to criticize the administration for its approach. Ostensibly, Trump would need buy-in from those same countries to build enough momentum for any peace plan to succeed.
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the embassy move and the administration’s unreserved defense of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies have alienated and angered the Palestinian leadership, which accuses the administration of abandoning its role as a neutral arbiter in the conflict. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said any deal needs to be between the Palestinians and Israel — not the United States.