Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Middle East, plans to resign once the long-delayed US peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians that he has been working on is released, officials said on Thursday.
Greenblatt had stepped up his public engagement before the announcement of the economic plan, but it was perhaps most notable for criticizing Palestinian leaders on Twitter for their rejection of the proposal and the as-yet unseen political portion of the peace plan.
The future of the "deal of the century" Greenblatt has been working on for just shy of two years remains uncertain, as Palestinians have ruled out accepting American mediation, believing any agreement they can come up with will favor Israel.
Greenblatt, who had meant to stay only two years when he began working at the White House in early 2017, is eager to return to his wife and six children who stayed behind at their home in New Jersey, the officials said. But its release has been long delayed, most recently due to Israel's September 17 election in which the country's longest-serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for reelection.
"His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won't be forgotten", the president continued.
There was no immediate response to his departure from the Palestinian Authority, with whom Greenblatt has feuded publicly on social media.
Jason Greenblatt worked alongside Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner on the plan, which has been rejected in advance by the Palestinians.
Greenblatt is the architect behind the so-called "Deal of the Century" - meant to be "a realistic and implementable vision to help solve the conflict and to help develop relationships between Israel and [her neighbors] in the region" - together with White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. "Greenblatt's resignation is proof of his failure, because he did not follow the rules of the peace process and damaged the United States' credibility as a result", a Palestinian official in Ramallah told Reuters.
'We have decided that we will not be releasing the peace vision (or parts of it) prior to the Israeli election, ' Greenblatt announced. He will return to his wife and six children in New Jersey.
Greenblatt continues to "hold the confidence" of Trump and his senior peace team, the official added. But Greenblatt, who was a top lawyer for the Trump Organization, made a positive impression on Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the start of his service as an envoy. But after the U.S. administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, officials in Ramallah shunned him, accusing him of becoming a spokesperson for the Jewish state, especially in light of the fact that he often uses his Twitter account to slam the speeches and actions of Palestinians, but never criticizes Israel.
The official credited Greenblatt as "instrumental" in Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Greenblatt will hand over much of his Middle East responsibilities to Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz.
Hook has accompanied Greenblatt and Kushner on trips to the region.