Trump Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt Steps Down

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President Trump's point person on talks between Israel and the Palestinians said Thursday that he will soon leave his post, with no date announced to release the USA -drawn peace proposal.

Greenblatt had been working toward a Middle East peace agreement alongside Jared Kushner.

Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special representative for worldwide negotiations, will depart the administration in the coming weeks, the White House said Thursday. While the economic component of the plan - including a $50 billion aid package for the Palestinians - was unveiled at an global conference in Bahrain in June, the Trump administration has withheld the deal's political aspect, and now says it will wait until after Israel's September 17 election to publish those details.

"It's been a tremendous privilege to work with Jason these past few years on the critical tasks of repairing and strengthening the US-Israel relationship and seeking peace and stability within the Middle East", said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

That plan was rolled out a workshop in Bahrain this year that was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority. The president's daughter and senior White House adviser said Greenblatt's exit had been planned "for some time" and that his job was hard on his six children.

Whether Trump releases the plan immediately after the election or he waits until a governing coalition is formed, a process that could take weeks, remains unclear.

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Described by Trump as the "deal of the century", the Republican president's plan to solve one of the world's most intractable disputes has drawn deep skepticism from Palestinians.

Greenblatt "was an apologist for the most extreme, hardline government in the history of Israel", Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, told AFP.

"Jason has also been instrumental in helping to reframe the discussions about the conflict, using the approach that a real peace can only be built on truth". "I am incredibly grateful to have been part of a team that drafted a vision for peace", Greenblatt said in remarks released by the White House.

"This vision has the potential to vastly improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region", he said in a statement. But Greenblatt, who was a top lawyer for the Trump Organization, made a positive impression on Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the start of his service as an envoy. Kushner praised Greenblatt and said "work has helped develop the relationships between Israel and its neighbours as he is trusted and respected by all of the leaders throughout the region". But after the U.S. administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, officials in Ramallah shunned him, accusing him of becoming a spokesperson for the Jewish state, especially in light of the fact that he often uses his Twitter account to slam the speeches and actions of Palestinians, but never criticizes Israel.

A senior Kushner aide, Avi Berkowitz, will assume an expanded role in the peace portfolio, the official said.

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