Trump’s top Mideast peace broker defends Twitter diplomacy from Palestinian mocking


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jason Greenblatt says he is still ready for face-to-face diplomacy after touting the virtual kind on Twitter.

“We continue to meet ordinary Palestinians and are always available to meet their leadership,” President Donald Trump’s top Middle East peace negotiator said Monday on Twitter after a Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, mocked him for touting Twitter as a means for diplomatic engagement.

Greenblatt said he would continue to use Twitter to take his case directly to the parties.

“We also are dedicated to responding to misinformation spread by some of the Palestinian leadership and being clear about our policies,” he said.

Palestinian officials have cut off Trump administration officials since December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump’s subsequent decision to cut virtually all funding to the Palestinians has entrenched the Palestinian refusal to engage.

Greenblatt uses Twitter to explain the Trump administration policies, saying last week that the Palestinian Authority must end its subsidies for the families of Palestinians who have attacked Israelis.

“Stop rewarding terrorists who kill Israelis,” Greenblatt said Feb. 1, responding to complaints about the funding cutoff by P.A. spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

In the same thread, Greenblatt said: “Who says the U.S. and the P.A. aren’t talking? The only difference now is that we are speaking about these matters in public via twitter so the public can understand everyone’s positions.”

Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, mocked Greenblatt — in a tweet, naturally.

“The instant gratification of a tweet can never be a substitute for a serious engagement in search of genuine solutions,” she said.

Greenblatt replied: “Dr. Ashrawi — my door is always open to the P.A. and Palestinians to speak.”

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