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Pompeo: Deal of the century ‘unexecutable’

June 3, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (R) visit the Western Wall Tunnels in Jerusalem’s Old City on 21 March, 2019 [JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the US’ Palestine-Israel peace plan arguably “unexecutable” in a private meeting with Jewish leaders on Tuesday. In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by the Washington Post, Pompeo expressed his scepticism of the secret plan, due to be revealed in a few weeks in Bahrain, saying that it might not “gain traction” and could be seen as “not particularly original”.

He recognised the popular idea that the agreement would be “a deal that only the Israelis could love” and hoped for people to “just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.” Responding to a participant’s question about efforts to bring Palestinians on board, Pompeo said that “everyone will find something to hate about the proposal” but that they would also “find something… to build upon.”

The US administration under President Donald Trump has consistently adopted policies hostile towards Palestinians, such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, closing the PLO delegation in Washington and cutting off aid to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

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These comments come at a stark contrast to the US Administration’s rhetoric on their peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century”, an attempt by Trump to resolve the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Trump yesterday responded to Pompeo’s sobering remarks, conceding that he “may be right” in his assessment of the peace plan. Palestinian businessmen and officials have refused to participate in the Bahrain conference, as have Russia and China. However, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have agreed to send delegations.

Though Israel has agreed to join the conference, it is in the midst of its own political crisis. Last week, Israel’s Knesset voted to dissolve itself, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a working government, triggering new elections. Scheduled for 17 September, Israel’s internal turmoil has put into doubt whether the US can roll out its peace plan as planned.

READ: 4 things to watch ahead of Israel’s September election