Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Waraw Conference on February 14, 2019.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview Friday night that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's talk about annexing parts of the West Bank won't hurt US President Donald Trump's upcoming peace plan.
“I think that the vision that we’ll lay out is going to represent a significant change from the model that’s been used,” Pompeo said, responding to a question by CNN’s Jake Tapper as to whether the secretary of state thinks that Netanyahu's vow to annex the West Bank might hurt the pursuit of peace.
Pompeo added that "we’ve had a lot of ideas for 40 years; they did not deliver peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Our mission set is to put forward a vision. Ultimately, the Israelis and the Palestinian people will have to make this – resolve this for themselves."
Netanyahu said in interviews during the last days of his reelection campaign that he will consider annexing parts of the West Bank after the elections. The White House has remained silent on that issue so far.
Pompeo did not provide new details about the plan, but told Tapper that the administration's vision for peace is "different" and "unique," and that it would be a vision "that tries to reframe and reshape what’s been an intractable problem that multiple administrations have grappled with - multiple administrations in Israel, as well.
“We hope that we can get to a better place,” he continued. “Everyone wants this conflict resolved. We want a better life for the Israelis without this conflict, and we certainly want a better life for the people of – the Palestinian people, both in the West Bank and in Gaza."
Last week, Pompeo refused to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last Wednesday regarding the State Department's 2020 budget request, Pompeo expressed hope that the upcoming peace plan would create the conditions in which Israelis and Palestinians could solve the conflict, but did not provide any specifics.
In a four-minute exchange between Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Pompeo, the two argued about the prospects of an upcoming peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Kaine pressured Pompeo to say whether the official US position is still to back the two-state solution, but Pompeo declined to give a definite answer.
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