U.S. Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Says He 'Will Understand' if Trump's Peace Plan Fails

Greenblatt makes the rare statement after a White House official announced there will be no official Israeli representation at the Bahrain summit, to avoid making it 'political'

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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FILE PHOTO: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, UN Security Council, New York, February 20, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, UN Security Council, New York, February 20, 2018.Credit: \ Lucas Jackson/ REUTERS
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

U.S. envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt told Israel's Channel 12 News on Tuesday that if President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan fails, he will "understand why."

This rare statement comes amid heightened tensions surrounding the blueprint, which Greenblatt said Monday may only be published in November.

Also Monday, a White House official said that there will be no official Israeli representation in the Trump administration's Bahrain economic conference, as Washington wants to keep the event from being "political."

>> Read more: No Palestinians, no Israelis, maybe no journalists: What's left of Kushner's summitJared Kushner's 'paradigm-busting' Mideast peace plan just won't work | Opinion ■ Trump? Bahrain? Jordanians outraged over Netflix's first original series in Arabic

Sources close to Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon confirmed to Haaretz that he will not be representing Israel in the workshop aimed at increasing investments in the Palestinian economy, despite earlier reports that he will attend. The Trump administration's decision was taken in coordination with Israel, according to Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

As it stands, there is no official representation from Israel or the Palestinians but only individual businesspeople, as the Palestinian Authority is boycotting the event.

The decision not to invite Israeli officials came on the same day that Jordan’s foreign minister expressed skepticism regarding the conference, saying that its importance should not be exaggerated.

In addition, the European Union announced that it will be represented by “technical level” officials at the conference. Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, also reiterated the union's commitment to a "political solution for the creation of a Palestinian state ... living side by side with the Israeli state, with a clear status for Jerusalem, and with respect to the international parameters that are clearly known."

Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are expected to send official representation to the Bahrain workshop on June 25-26.

Palestinians rejected the initiative from the outset due to strained relations between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority. According to Palestinians leaders, they are not willing to make political concessions to gain material improvements

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