Standing with Israel in fighting anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, Trump announced on Friday that Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, will serve as a special representative for international negotiations.
A source familiar with the appointment told CNN that Greenblatt will primarily be working on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the U.S. relationship with Cuba and trade agreements.
The appointment should come as no surprise as Trump reiterated his desire to broker a peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians despite the U.N. action. “The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace,” the President-elect tweeted on Saturday. “Too bad, but we will get it done anyway.”
Greenblatt is no expert on foreign policy, but he has expressed the same views on the peace process. During a meeting with Jewish media representatives at Trump Tower in April, Trump deferred questions about his views on settlements in the West Bank to Greenblatt.
In the 1980’s, Greenblatt studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion, a Hesder Yeshiva located in Alon Shvut, a settlement near Jerusalem. In a radio interview after Trump’s stunning victory, Greenblatt said it is certainly not Trump’s view that “settlement activity should be condemned because it is not the obstacle to peace.”
During the campaign, Trump said Israel should not be pressed to halt new construction in the settlements. “I don’t think there should be a pause,” Trump told DailyMail.com in May. “I think Israel really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.”
Greenblatt and Ambassador-designate David Friedman served as Trump’s advisors on Israel-related matters during the presidential campaign. The pair worked together with pro-Israel groups within the Republican Party to remove support for a Palestinian state from the party’s 2016 platform. “We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier,” the platform reads. In a position paper outlining U.S. policy on Israel , released six days before the election, Greenblatt and Friedman stated that if the Israelis and the Palestinians agree to return to the negotiation table, Trump will seek to “assist” in “reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace, to be freely and fairly negotiated between those living in the region.” Trump would also not pressure Israel to withdraw to borders “that make attacks and conflict more likely.”
Israeli Consul General in New York, Dani Dayan called the announcement about Greenblatt the “really important news of the day.”