President elect Donald Trump does not condemn Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines, nor does he believe in dictating the terms of any peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinian, a close legal advisor, Jason Greenblatt, told Army Radio on Thursday morning.
“Mr. Trump does not view the settlements as being an obstacle for peace,” Greenblatt said.
He described a US policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is 180 degrees different from that of past administrations, either Democrat or Republican.
Trump’s views, he said, come from the past example of the 2005 Israeli demolition of 21 settlements in Gaza and four in northern Samaria. That withdrawal did not bring peace but rather was a precursor to a Hamas takeover of Gaza and three wars with Israel.
“The two sides are going to have to decide how to deal with that region, but it’s certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it’s an obstacle for peace – because it is not the obstacle for peace.”
“He is not going to impose any solution on Israel. He thinks that the peace has to come from the parties themselves. Any meaningful contribution he can offer up, he is there to do, it is not his goal, nor should it be anyone else’s goal, to impose peace on the parties,” said Greenblatt.
With regard to Israel’s larger security issues, Greenblatt said that the newly elected president “thinks that Israel is in a very tough situation and needs to defend itself as it needs to defend itself.”
With regard to Trump’s pre-election promise that he would relocate the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Greenblatt said he expected that the pledge would be fulfilled.
“I think he said it, he is going to do it. He is a man who keep this word. He recognizes the historical significance of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, unlike UNESCO,” Greenblatt said.
Trump won’t be like his predecessors, Greenblatt said. “He is different for Israel than any recent president has been.”
Greenblatt also addressed a question about whether he could be the Middle East envoy in the Trump administration.
“It’s a little too soon to tell. I would be honored and privileged to serve in that kind of role. It would be an incredible opportunity and a bracha (blessing),” he said.
Jpost staff contributed to this report.