Trump Envoy Greenblatt Snaps Back at 'Empty Rhetoric' by Senior Palestinian Negotiator

Responding to Saeb Erekat's letter calling him a 'spokesperson of the Israeli authorities', Greenblatt says his Palestinian counterpart should get to work or 'continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere'

Jason Greenblatt, Assistant to the President, Special Representative for International Negotiations Meet with PM Netanyahu at the PM's office in Jerusalem. June 20, 2017
Matty Stern / U.S.Embassy Tel Aviv

WASHINGTON - Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's special envoy to the Middle East peace process responded on Friday to claims made by a senior Palestinian official that he is a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, saying that "this empty, self-indulgent rhetoric won't stop us from trying" to reach a peace plan.

On Thursday, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator as well as secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, sent a letter to all foreign diplomats stationed in Ramallah assailing Greenblatt.

The letter, which also urged diplomats to support the Palestinians at the United Nations and other international agencies, said that since the mass demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border began a few weeks ago, Greenblatt has “assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli Authorities” and “consistently repeated Israeli talking points.”

Greenblatt responded Friday on Twitter: "Saeb Erekat's personal attack on me is a symptom of the difficulties in the path to peace. Saeb knows there’s no truth to his accusation. This outburst, like all his recent outbursts, is merely intended as a distraction from the important work that lies ahead."

He ended his response with a persobal appeal to Erekat, starting: "Saeb: It’s time to time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere!"