US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington DC, March 25, 2019.
(photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday in a conversation with American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris that “It is unimaginable that any arrangement will be agreed to by the Israelis absent them protecting their own natural security interests. That’s a prerequisite.”
Pompeo said that strengthening the relations between the US and the Gulf states is “central to what we are trying to accomplish,” and cited the Warsaw summit in February as a positive step in bringing Israel, the Gulf states together.
He added that Arab states “have become frustrated” with the Palestinian side. “It can’t be a terrorist group. It can’t be someone afraid to take some risks,” he said.
He urged all sided to “keep an open mind” about the administration’s “Deal of the Century,” and said: “Take the entire context of what we are proposing as our vision for moving forward, and we can begin to build from that. If we can get that far, if we can get serious, good-faith people on all sides of this issue to seriously sit down and have a conversation, we will have done more than has happened in recent history,” he said.
In a private meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last Tuesday, Pompeo said that the peace plan, “may be rejected,” The Washington Post reported.
“Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original. It doesn’t particularly work for me.’ That is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’” Pompeo said in the meeting. The secretary of state added that “The big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out.”
Pompeo also noted that the plan had been repeatedly delayed, explaining that it “has taken us longer to roll out our plan than I had originally thought it might — to put it lightly.
“I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” Pompeo said, addressing the widespread belief that the plan will favor the Israeli government. “I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.”
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