Trump’s Israel advisor: President-elect does not view settlements as obstacle to peace

Marcy Oster

Greenblatt would be thrust into the post of presidential adviser on Israel if Trump wins the White House. (Uriel Heilman)

Jason Greenblatt serves as co-chairman of the Trump campaign’s Israel Advisory Committee. (Photo/Uriel Heilman)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump does not view Jewish settlements as an obstacle to peace, his top adviser on Israel said.

“Mr. Trump does not view the settlements as an obstacle to peace. I think he would show Gaza as proof of that,” Jason Greenblatt said Thursday morning in an interview with Army Radio. Greenblatt was referring to the fact that all Jewish settlements were unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.

“The two sides are going to have to decide how to deal with that region, but it is certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activity should be condemned because it is not the obstacle to peace,” said Greenblatt, an executive vice president and chief legal officer of The Trump Organization and  co-chairman of the Trump campaign’s Israel Advisory Committee.

Greenblatt said that it is not the president elect’s “goal” to impose a peace agreement on the Israelis and Palestinians.

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“He thinks that Israel is in a very tough situation and needs to defend itself as it needs to defend itself. He is not going to impose any solution on Israel. He thinks that the peace has to come from the parties themselves,” Greenblatt said.

When asked if Trump would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as three successive presidents have failed to do despite a law passed in 1995, Greenblatt called Trump “different for Israel than any recent president has been” He added that Trump is “a man who keeps his word.”

“He recognizes the historical significance of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, unlike, say, UNESCO,” Greenblatt said.

Trump also is ready to roll up his sleeves and help, Greenblatt said.  “Any meaningful contribution he can offer up he’s there to do, but it’s not his goal, nor should it be anyone else’s goal to impose peace upon the parties,” he explained.