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Pompeo and Palestinians have "nothing to discuss" during the Gaza crisis



Speaking in Tel Aviv on Sunday while standing next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Pompeo mentioned that the borders of Jerusalem should still be the subject of negotiations between the parties. "We remain committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that will provide a better future for both Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

But the escalating protests on the border between Gaza and Israel – which have led to hundreds of injuries and deaths – 46 dead and worldwide sympathy for the Palestinian cause ̵

1; have not been mentioned.

"No meeting in Ramallah on his first visit gives an ominous tone on the prospects for any progress or even dialogue with the Palestinians," said Daniel B. Shapiro, an American ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration

Aaron David Miller, a former negotiator for the United States in the Middle East, said that Mr. Pompeo's apparent indifference to the Palestinians was "at least an occasional disregard for the Israeli-Palestinian explosion that may develop and the inability or unwillingness of the United States to influence the course of events. "

Rather than discussing the Palestinians One problem, Mr. Pompeo's focused message about his efforts in the region was a denunciation of Iran. He met with Saudi leaders on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and everyone agreed that Iran is a destabilizing force. He met with Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon, blasting Iran next to Mr. Pompeo.

And on Monday he will meet King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman, if Iran is likely to be the main topic of conversation again

In two weeks, Mr. Trump is expected by the nuclear deal with Iran, which he as " the worst of times "denounced, will go away. Resistance to Iran has become one of the few unequivocal political issues of the government [19659008] Continue reading the main story

Mr. Trump and his advisors disagree on how to face Moscow. A possible trade war with China has caused deep unrest in the Midwest. The government's Syria policy is on the move. And North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, suddenly looks like a statesman.

But there is agreement that Iran must be fought, and Mr. Pompeo pounded them off on Sunday.

"We remain very concerned about Iran's dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region, and Iran's ambition to dominate the Middle East remains," Mr. Pompeo said next to an enthusiastic Mr. Netanyahu. "The United States is in this fight with Israel, and we strongly support Israel's sovereign right to defend itself."

Concerning the nuclear deal, President Trump has made it clear: "This deal is very flawed," said Pompeo.

"He has instructed the government to try to fix it," he said. "And if we can not fix it, he'll retire from the deal, it's pretty easy."

Mr. Netanyahu agreed. "Mr. Minister," he said, "I think the biggest threat to the world and our two countries – and to all countries – is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons, and especially Iran's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons." [19659015] Representatives of the United States and international inspectors agree that Iran is holding to the nuclear agreement that has severely worsened the country's ability to operate nuclear weapons. Iranian officials have said the country could resume its nuclear program if the United States withdraws from the nuclear deal.

On May 14, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel, the United States will formally open its embassy in Jerusalem, and a host of American dignitaries is expected. Mr. Trump has suggested that he could come.

But this opening also coincides with the time when the Palestinian protests are likely to be crowned on the eve of the Palestinian Nakba or "catastrophe" commemoration, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled their homes and were killed during hostilities Israel's founding in 1948 to refugees.

The first high-ranking US official who caused the Palestinians to be furious about the Jerusalem decision was Vice President Mike Pence, who shelved the expected expectations An emotional visit to the Christmas break after several Christian leaders in the region refused to meet him. When he finally made it in January, the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted him.

Since nothing was done in the meantime to reassure the Palestinians, Mr. Pompeo could have expected the same treatment.

"We have refused to see Mr. Pence twice," said Nabil Shaath, an Abbas international relations consultant. He added, "We have stated our position, and we do not accept an American role in the unilateral control of the peace process." For us, Trump is irrelevant whether he announces the deal of the century or not. "

On Monday, the Palestinian National Council , the PLO's legislative body, will hold its first formal meeting in nine years. If Mr. Pompeo had a strategy for overcoming the divide, he could hardly have found a better time to deal with the leadership of the movement.

Instead, he will fly home Monday after seeing King Abdullah.

Continue reading the main story


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