Pompeo fears Mid-East peace plan may be rejected

Right-wing youth dancing with Israeli flags on their way to the Western Wall during celebrations marking Jerusalem Day on Sunday. The day marks the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the 1967 S
Right-wing youth dancing with Israeli flags on their way to the Western Wall during celebrations marking Jerusalem Day on Sunday. The day marks the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City after the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel claims Jerusalem was "reunified", but Palestinians reject that and insist they live under occupation in East Jerusalem.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

It might be perceived as a deal only Israelis could love, he says at private meeting

WASHINGTON • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is worried that the Trump administration's soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan would be considered "unworkable" and might not gain traction, US media reported.

His remarks to a private meeting of Jewish leaders, first reported by The Washington Post, show that even the plan's own backers expect the latest United States blueprint for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be met with deep scepticism.

The economic components of the proposal are to be unveiled at a conference in Bahrain on June 25-26.

"It may be rejected. 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', " the Post reported, citing an audio recording of the meeting it had obtained.

When asked about the recording in an interview in Switzerland yesterday with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Mr Pompeo did not deny its authenticity.

He acknowledged that, given the "important relationship" the US has with Israel, "I could see how someone might be concerned that a plan that this administration put forward might - without knowing the true facts of what is contained in the plan - they might perceive that it was going to be fundamentally one-sided".

But he stressed that "it is just simply not true. I think there will be things in this plan that lots of people like".

Mr Mike Pompeo acknowledged that, given the "important relationship" the US has with Israel, "I could see how someone might be concerned that a plan that this administration put forward might - without knowing the true facts of what is contained in the plan - they might perceive that it was going to be fundamentally one-sided". But he stressed that "it is just simply not true... There will be things in this plan that lots of people like".

 
 

The long-awaited plan spearheaded by Mr Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say the US President's policies have shown him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli politics was upended last week when a snap election was set for September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a veteran conservative close to Mr Trump, failed to form a coalition government.

Another key broker in the peace process, the United Nations, says it will stay away from the Bahrain meeting.

The body has passed several resolutions affirming a two-state solution to the conflict, but Mr Kushner has hinted the plan will not endorse creating a Palestinian state.

In the remarks delivered last Tuesday to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, Mr Pompeo acknowledged the blueprint's perceived favouritism to Israel but hoped it would be given a fair hearing.

"I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love," he said, according to the Post. "I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2019, with the headline 'Pompeo fears Mid-East peace plan may be rejected'. Print Edition | Subscribe