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5 Sep, 2019 18:33

Top designer of Trump’s Middle East peace plan Jason Greenblatt resigning

Top designer of Trump’s Middle East peace plan Jason Greenblatt resigning

A chief author of US President Donald Trump’s still under-wraps Middle East peace plan, Jason Greenblatt, will leave his post in government after the contentious deal is unveiled – though it’s unclear why.

The president announced Greenblatt’s resignation by tweet on Thursday afternoon, stating his top negotiator and longtime legal adviser would soon leave “to pursue work in the private sector” after nearly three years in his administration, but did not elaborate on his reason for leaving.

The future of the “deal of the century” Greenblatt has been working on for just shy of two years remains uncertain, as Palestinians have ruled out accepting American mediation, believing any agreement they can come up with will favor Israel. They have reasons to expect that, too – from Trump’s scandalous decision to recognize the contested city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, to his repeated proclamations of loyalty to the state of Israel.

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Even in his send-off tweets for Greenblatt, the president thanked him for “His dedication to Israel” separately from “seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” apparently seeing nothing untoward in declaring his favor for one side of a highly contentious dispute the US is supposedly trying to arbitrate.

Greenblatt will not leave until the administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan is finally unveiled, senior officials told Reuters.

The release of Trump’s peace plan has seen several delays over the summer. While the economic component of the plan – including a $50 billion aid package for the Palestinians – was unveiled at an international conference in Bahrain in June, the Trump administration has withheld the deal’s political aspect, and now says it will wait until after Israel’s September 17 election to publish those details.

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Greenblatt, formerly a top legal adviser to the Trump Organization, is among 4 officials who know the full details of the plan, the others being the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner, as well as Avi Berkowitz, a Kushner aide.

Berkowitz will reportedly fill Greenblatt’s post as representative for international negotiations, while Iran envoy Brian Hook will also take on a larger role in crafting the peace deal, according to NBC.

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