Official Behind Middle East Peace Plan Leaving White House

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump said Thursday that the official tasked with developing a peace plan for Israel is leaving the administration to pursue work in the private sector.

An Israeli flag flies over the village of Majdal Shams in Israeli-controlled Golan Heights in October 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

“Jason has been a loyal and great friend and fantastic lawyer,” Trump tweeted about Jason Greenblatt. “His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won’t be forgotten. He will be missed. Thank you Jason!”

Greenblatt was named Trump’s special representative for international negotiations and adviser on Israel in December 2016. Prior to this role, Greenblatt served as executive vice president and chief legal officer in the Trump Organization for over 20 years.

He was one of four people working on Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, along with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, David Friedman and Avi Berkowitz – who is expected to replace Greenblatt in the coming weeks.

Trump’s plan for Middle East peace has been delayed since 2017, with his administration stating that the full release of the plan’s political aspect is contingent on Israel’s upcoming elections. The White House released the economic portion of the plan in June, which includes a $50 billion investment to multiple Middle Eastern countries to support nearly 180 infrastructure and business initiatives.

The plan is facing pushback from Palestinian officials who are opposed to strengthening the relationship between America and Israel. The economic proposal was announced during a workshop in Bahrain, and the event was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority.

Greenblatt took to Twitter multiple times following the event to express his displeasure with the decision.

“What government prioritizes terrorists over police? PA increased pay to murderers by over 11% at the same time as they slash pay to their government workers and police. More harm to Palestinians & to peace!” Greenblatt tweeted in July in reference to the Palestinian Authority.

Greenblatt said of his resignation Thursday that serving in the role had been “the honor of a lifetime.” On Twitter, he quoted Trump’s original announcement and thanked his supporters.

“So grateful to have worked on the potential to improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians &others. Thank you to my incredible wife/amazing children for their encouragement & to my many colleagues for all their help!” Greenblatt tweeted.

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