Jason Greenblatt, Mideast envoy, to leave the White House, Trump says


Jason GreenblattDesiree Navarro | WireImage | Getty ImagesJason Greenblatt, the official in charge of President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, is departing the White House, Trump announced Thursday.”After almost 3 years in my Administration, Jason Greenblatt will be leaving to pursue work in the private sector. Jason has been a loyal and great friend and fantastic lawyer,” Trump wrote in a series of posts on Twitter.”His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won’t be forgotten,” Trump wrote. “He will be missed. Thank you Jason!”The departure of one of the few senior officials with responsibility for overseeing the president’s foreign policy ambitions in the Middle East raises questions about the progress of the plan, which has yet to be fully disclosed, to achieve an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.News of Greenblatt’s departure was earlier reported by NBC News and other outlets. In a statement, Greenblatt said he was “grateful to have been part of the team that drafted a realistic vision for peace, which has the potential to improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region.”Greenblatt became the president’s special representative for international negotiations in 2017, and worked closely with White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.”Jason has done a tremendous job leading the efforts to develop an economic and political vision for a long sought after peace in the Middle East,” Kushner said in a statement. “His work has helped develop the relationships between Israel and its neighbors as he is trusted and respected by all of the leaders throughout the region.”The peace plan that Greenblatt has overseen has yet to be fully unveiled. In June, the administration released the economic portion of the plan during a two-day conference in Bahrain. That effort was boycotted by Palestinian leadership with the support of most Palestinians.The political aspect of the plan remains under wraps and has suffered from a number of delays. It is not expected to be released before the Sept. 17 Israeli election, which will determine whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of the president, remains in office.An official told The New York Times on Thursday that the plan “will be released when appropriate.”The president did not specify when Greenblatt will officially leave his post.Before joining the Trump administration, Greenblatt was a private lawyer for the Trump Organization. Avi Berkowitz, a deputy assistant to the president and a Kushner ally, will take Greenblatt’s role, NBC News reported.

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