Trump's Envoy Greenblatt in Egypt to Discuss Palestinian Reconciliation

Jason Greenblatt will cooperate with Egypt to 'help facilitate an enduring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,' White House official says

U.S. special envoy Jason Greenblatt attends the launch of a project for Palestinian farmers, Jericho, West Bank, October 15, 2017.
JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP

Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy to the peace process, has traveled to Egypt to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, an agreement that Israel neither recognizes nor accepts.

Greenblatt's visit was announced in a statement by a senior White House official on Thursday. "The United States is closely monitoring the reconciliation efforts and is in frequent contact with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israel," the statement read.

"He will also work with the Government of Egypt on the basic principles outlined in his earlier statement today so we can help facilitate an enduring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians," the statement added.

Earlier on Thursday, Greenblatt issued Washington's first official response to the Palestinian reconciliation deal. According to Greenblatt, any Palestinian government must "unambiguously and explicitly" commit to the conditions set by the Quartet: Refraining from violence, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements, including disarming terrorists and committing to peace.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Greenblatt's statement and reiterated Israel's stance on the reconciliation deal. Due to Israel's wish to achieve peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said, "we will not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization in a diplomatic disguise." 

Hamas rejected Greenblatt's statements, saying his remarks reflect the U.S. administration's "blackmail attempts" and one-sided support of Israel. According to Hamas, Greenblatt's statement constitutes a blunt attempt to meddle in internal Palestinian affairs and was meant to thwart Palestinian unity.