US ready for Is­rael crit­ics

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Wash­ing­ton – The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is pre­pared for Is­raeli crit­i­cism of el­e­ments of its com­ing Mid­dle East peace plan, the US en­voy to the re­gion said, even as Wash­ing­ton faces grow­ing Pales­tinian ac­cu­sa­tions that it will be heav­ily tilted in favour of Is­rael.

Ja­son Green­blatt, a chief ar­chi­tect of the long-awaited peace ini­tia­tive, said US ne­go­tia­tors had en­tered the “pre-launch phase” of the plan, de­spite a boy­cott by Pales­tinian lead­ers.

But he de­clined to spec­ify a time frame, ex­cept to say it would not be an­nounced at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly gath­er­ing in New York later this month, or of­fer any de­tails of a pro­posal that has drawn deep skep­ti­cism.

Push­ing back against wide­spread per­cep­tions among Pales­tini­ans, Arab of­fi­cials and in­de­pen­dent an­a­lysts that the peace plan is likely to be de­cid­edly pro-Is­rael, Green­blatt made clear that both sides can ex­pect parts they will like and dis­like.

“We’re go­ing to have to de­fend the plan to Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans. We are ready for crit­i­cism from all sides, but we be­lieve this is the best path for­ward for every­one,” he said as the ad­min­is­tra­tion moved to fi­nalise the ini­tia­tive, which is led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kush­ner.

But there was no im­me­di­ate ex­pla­na­tion of what might dis­ap­point Is­raelis, who have been largely pleased with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Mid­dle East poli­cies but have at times been rat­tled by sug­ges­tions he might ask them for sig­nif­i­cant con­ces­sions.

Green­blatt said, how­ever, that the United States will rec­om­mend com­pro­mises but will not seek to im­pose a deal.

“The par­ties will need to de­cide if they think the plan works for them and will make their lives bet­ter,” he said. “The par­ties are the only ones who can make these com­pro­mises, and there are no com­pro­mises on Is­rael’s se­cu­rity needs.” – Reuters

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