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Greenblatt Urges Abbas to Choose Between Hateful Rhetoric and Peace

U.S. President Donald Trump’s special Middle East adviser excoriated Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for his “hateful rhetoric” in describing the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman as a “son of a dog.”

Responding on Twitter to the remarks, in which Abbas also slammed Friedman and his family as “settlers,” Jason Greenblatt said, “The time has come for President Abbas to choose between hateful rhetoric and concrete and practical efforts to improve the quality of life of his people and lead them to peace and prosperity.”

Abbas made his comments in Ramallah, during which he launched a barrage of fresh verbal attacks on the U.S. administration for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and for “legitimizing” settlements.

“The U.S. is lending legitimacy to settlements. That is what senior American officials have done who are led by their ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman. He said: ‘They are building on their land.’ You son of a dog. They’re building on their land? He himself is a settler and his family are settlers,” Abbas scathed.

Greenblatt, however, noted that the broadside would not distract Trump’s administration from its commitment to the Palestinian people.

“Notwithstanding his highly inappropriate insults against members of the Trump administration, the latest iteration being his insult of my good friend and colleague Ambassador Friedman,” Greenblatt continued, “we are committed to the Palestinian people and to the changes that must be implemented for peaceful coexistence. We are finalizing our plan for peace and we will advance it when circumstances are right.”

Heather Nauert, a Trump spokeswoman, also backed Greenblatt’s comments on Twitter.

“We echo @jdgreenblatt45’s statement. President Abbas’s comments were outrageous & unhelpful. We urge the Palestinian Authority to focus on improving the lives of the Palestinian people & advancing the cause of peace. The Administration remains fully committed to those goals,” she tweeted.

Shortly after Abbas’ remarks, Friedman responded to the invective, implying that they may have been anti-Semitic.

“Three Jews were murdered in cold blood and the response of the Palestinian Authority was silence,” Friedman said in reference to Adiel Koleman who was stabbed to death on Sunday, and two IDF soldiers who were murdered in a car-ramming terror attack on Friday.

“Abbas chose to respond; I saw his response on my iPhone a few minutes ago. His response was to refer to me as son of a dog. Anti-Semitism or political discourse? Not for me to judge—I leave that all up to you,” Friedman said at the 6th Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism.

By Itamar Eichner/Ynetnews.com

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