In July 2019, Jason Greenblatt, then U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, attended a routine quarterly UN Security Council meeting about the Middle East. Providing an update on the Trump administration’s thinking about the peace process, he pointedly told the surprised audience that the United States no longer respected the “fiction” of an international consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Greenblatt went out of his way to attack not some extreme or obscure measure but UN Security Council Resolution 242, the foundation of half a century of Arab-Israeli negotiations and of every agreement Israel has achieved within them, including the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. He railed against its ambiguous wording, which has shielded Israel for decades against Arab demands for a full withdrawal from occupied territory, as “tired rhetoric designed to prevent progress and bypass direct negotiations” and claimed that it had hurt rather than helped the chances for real peace in the region.
The indignation was calculated. Guided by his boss Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser on the Middle East, Greenblatt was trying to change the conversation, to “start a new, realistic discussion” of the subject. UN resolutions, international law, global