Outgoing U.S. Envoy Greenblatt Meets With Israeli President Amid Post-election Talks

The American special ambassador to the Middle East is finishing his two-and-a-half-year tenure in region; he met with Netanyahu and may still convene with rival Gantz

Outgoing U.S. Envoy Jason Greenblatt meets with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, September 22, 2019.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

President Reuven Rivlin met Sunday with the outgoing U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt. The ambassador came to depart from Rivlin toward the end of his time serving in the region. 

The two met at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, where Rivlin is meeting with Israeli party leaders throughout the day to hold consultations on which candidate should be selected to attempt to form a governing coalition. 
 
Rivlin, his spokesperson said in a statement, thanked Greenblatt for his efforts to promote understanding and trust in the tension-fraught region. The envoy came to Israel to attend the wedding of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's daughter. During his visit, he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday; neither of them issued public remarks after the meeting. Greenblatt was also expected to meet with the premier's rival Benny Gantz, the leader of Kahol Lavan who is also gunning for the premiership. 

>> Read more: Arab party must recommend Gantz, or Netanyahu will be back | Analysis 
 
A U.S. Embassy official said Thursday that Greenblatt was in Israel to hold "discussions with various parties regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship, regional dynamics and the Administration’s peace efforts.”
 
Israeli officials said the purpose of Greenblatt's visit isn't to publish the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been working on, but rather "to continue to look into" when would be the best timing to unveil it.
 
In early September Greenblatt announced his resignation, which will go into effect in the coming weeks, after his two-and-a-half-year tenure. The Trump administration has stressed that Greenblatt's departure will not impact intentions to release its peace plan after Israel's election.
 
In recent weeks, as part of his election campaign, Netanyahu repeatedly reiterated that Trump's plan will be presented immediately after the election and would pose a "challenge" to Israel.

Netanyahu used this as a justification for his declaration that he would annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, should he be reelected, as well as the move to green light a West Bank settlement days before the election. Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit had objected to Netanyahu's recognition of the settlement close to Jericho, but walked back his objection after he said that he was presented with important details concerning the peace plan.