President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Sunday expressed his support for recent statements by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in favor of Israeli annexation of some parts of Judea and Samaria.
“I will let David’s comments stand for themselves,” Greenblatt said during the annual Jerusalem Post conference in New York, when asked about an interview with Friedman published in The New York Times last Saturday. “I think he said them elegantly and I support his comments.”
In the article, Friedman said “under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
He also said he would not “want to prejudge” a scenario of unilateral Israeli annexation, saying America would want to understand “how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves” before deciding.
In his interview, Greenblatt said the Trump administration is weighing a delay in the full publication of its Mideast peace plan until after Israel’s September election.
Greenblatt’s statements came as the United States is set to host an economic summit in Bahrain to discuss economic components of the plan.
“The new elections have thrown us off,” Greenblatt said.
Though the details have not been publicized, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas has boycotted the June 25 and 26 event in Bahrain, refusing to send any official representatives. Reports indicate that at least one private Palestinian businessman will attend, in contravention of the P.A. decision.
Greenblatt urged the P.A. to put an end to its boycott and participate in negotiations, or else “failure will put this in the box for a long time,” something Greenblatt said would be “a tragedy for the Palestinian people.”