Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 May 2019

Top PLO official feuds with Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt on Twitter

Hanan Ashrawi said the Trump administration has ‘zero credibility’ in peace negotiations

Jason Greenblatt and Mahmoud Abbas hold talks in 2017, before the Palestinian leadership cut contacts with the US over its Jerusalem decision in December that year. Getty
Jason Greenblatt and Mahmoud Abbas hold talks in 2017, before the Palestinian leadership cut contacts with the US over its Jerusalem decision in December that year. Getty

A senior Palestinian official has become embroiled in a Twitter argument with the top Middle East envoy of US President Donald Trump, calling his administration one with “zero credibility” in the Middle East peace process.

Responding to a speculative tweet about the contents of Mr Trump’s much-vaunted peace plan to solve the decades-long conflict, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said mention of its contents were “hypotheticals and red herrings to distract and divert” from Israeli and American policy in the region.

Jason Greenblatt, the man Mr Trump has directed to shuttle between Washington and Israel and other Middle Eastern capitals to build support for a deal, responded directly to Ms Ashrawi.

He said “you may dislike our policies & decisions, but to say we have ‘zero credibility’ is simply not factual. @POTUS has kept his commitments, such as recognizing #Jerusalem as the capital of #Israel & moving our Embassy to #Jerusalem”.

Mr Greenblatt claimed that the US administration was working on building prospects for peace between both sides, despite the Palestinian view that it has only taken moves to destroy any hope of peace, such as relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, cutting all funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees and cutting aid to East Jerusalem hospitals that serve sick Palestinians.

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Ms Ashrawi responded with the consensus view in Ramallah, that Mr Trump and his advisers are working in favour of Israel and cannot be an impartial mediator.

“‘Zero credibility’ is my polite way of saying that you have unilaterally destroyed the chances of peace by taking illegal unilateral measures to prejudice/predetermine the outcome of the basic requirements of peace,” she wrote.

The Palestinian official, a Christian, went on to lambast Israel for failing to negotiate honestly with the Palestinians since the Oslo Accords were struck in 1993, rejecting Mr Greenblatt’s claim that officials in Ramallah were not seeking peace because they had cancelled all public contact with Washington.

“We have engaged fully since 1991 & have negotiated in every possible way until our own credibility was undermined by constant Israeli violations & non-compliance,” Ms Ashrawi wrote.

Updated: January 21, 2019 05:21 PM

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