While in Brussels yesterday, senior US official Jason Greenblatt stressed that Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was not an attempt at rewriting history. He explained that the decision simply recognized “an obvious reality” and that it is irrelevant to the peace process.
Greenblatt with Israeli PM Netanyahu Photo Credit: Haim Tzah/GPO
At the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in Brussels on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, expressed Washington’s support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and stressed that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has not changed the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
“Despite our differences, we remain committed to continue working together to use our best efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Greenblatt stated. “President Trump believes that fresh thinking and bold decisions are needed to advance the cause of peace, and we have acted in accordance with that vision. This has led to a great deal of speculation about the peace process and, indeed, about the role that the United States will play in it moving forward.”
The senior US official then defended Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, stating that this decision was a recognition of “an obvious reality,” not an attempt at rewriting history. “We deeply believe that by recognizing this reality, we took an important step, not just for Israel, but to lay the ground for a comprehensive, enduring—and real peace,” he explained. “Did it change the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites? It did not. President Trump explicitly called for all parties to continue to maintain the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif.”
“Did the decision, then, signal the United States’ abandonment of the peace process, or a bias against one side? Again, I answer, no. The United States is as committed as ever to reaching an agreement that guarantees a peaceful, prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians,” he continued.
Thank you to everyone who worked with me in connection with my attendance today in Brussels at the extraordinary session of the AHLC, especially @usembassyta, @USCGJerusalem, @StateDept, @USAID, @US2EU, and @WHNSC.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) January 31, 2018
Greenblatt then claimed that the “false claims” about the nature and purpose of Trump’s Jerusalem statement are mere distractions that help neither sides of the conflict. “Peace will not be achieved by denying Judaism’s thousands of years of ties to Jerusalem and the land of Israel,” he stressed. “Peace will not be achieved by walking away from negotiations. Peace only has a chance of success through respectful, continuous dialogue and through negotiations. It is easy to walk away from the table. But that helps no one, and it reduces or perhaps eliminates the chances of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi were among those who attended the meeting, which was chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Søreide.