The U.S. secretary of state says the Trump administration has been consulting allies across the Middle East about its plan.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that immediately following Israel’s April 9 parliamentary election, the Trump administration will build on the foundations already laid towards reaching an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time…We’ve begun to share elements of this across the region. It won’t be a U.S.-driven process,” Pompeo said, as he addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, speaking by satellite in a video conference.
“Ultimately, the Israelis and the Palestinians will have to come to an agreement. But we think that the foundations that we have laid and the work that we’ll do immediately following the Israeli elections will set conditions where we can have a constructive conversation,” Pompeo added.
In the past, U.S. officials have hinted about the future of the plan but refused to commit to a specific timetable of when details would be announced. Since late December, when the Knesset legislated the early election, the prevailing view has been that the process would have to wait until after the April ballot.
Even once the election takes place, the process of forming the new Israeli government coalition could take another several weeks, raising the question of whether the U.S. would wait until the new Cabinet is in place.
Last week, President Donald Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt dismissed an Israeli television report on the U.S. president’s peace plan as not accurate and not helpful.
The Channel 13 report said the proposal included a divided Jerusalem and would offer a Palestinian state in up to 90 percent of Judea and Samaria, with major settlement blocs to be annexed by Israel. There would also be land swaps according to which the Palestinian state would receive land from within Israel in exchange for territory that Israel would annex in Judea and Samaria.
Greenblatt tweeted that he would “highly recommend” that people listen only to the official statements that come from him, President Donald Trump, the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, or U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. He did not include Pompeo on the list.
Speaking Tuesday, the U.S. secretary of state said that “it seems to me that we’re at a point in time where there are ways that we can resolve the primary differences and encourage… the Israelis and the Palestinians to come together to resolve their differences and get a solution there that has bedeviled the world for an awfully long time.”
Pompeo did not attend the Davos conference in person because of the cancelation of the trip due to the U.S. government shutdown.