Protection of Israeli security interests is a “prerequisite” to any peace deal with the Palestinians, said the U.S. Secretary of State.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to endorse one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s primary demands in regard to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, saying Israel’s security interests must be taken into account in any potential deal.
Pompeo made the comments during an interview with David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, that was shown on Tuesday at the annual AJC Global Forum in Washington, DC.
Speaking about the diplomatic process and the Trump administration’s yet-to-be-unveiled Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Pompeo said, “It is unimaginable that any arrangement will be agreed to by the Israelis absent them protecting their own natural security interests. That’s a prerequisite.”
Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Israel must retain overall security control of Judea and Samaria in a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Pompeo also noted that the role of the Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia were “central to what we are trying to accomplish.” He said many Arab leaders were “frustrated with the Palestinians” and that a Palestinian peace partner “can’t be a terrorist group.”
“It can’t be someone who is afraid to take some risks,” Pompeo added.
He further urged the involved parties, “Take the entire context of what we are proposing as our vision for moving forward, and we can begin to build from that.”
“If we can get that far, if we can get serious, good-faith people on all sides of this issue to seriously sit down and have a conversation, we will have done more than has happened in recent history,” he said.
Pompeo also addressed the global rise of anti-Semitism in recent years, saying of combating the problem, “The Trump administration puts a really high value on this mission, and we’re doing all that we can to reduce the risk of antisemitism across the world.”
“We’re thinking about foreign assistance and the broader set of diplomatic tools that we have to bring to bear” on the issue, he continued.