Two senior Palestinian officials said Wednesday that CIA chief Mike Pompeo had secretly held talks in the West Bank with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a rare high-level meeting between the Palestinian leader and a Trump administration official.
The officials said on Wednesday that the meeting took place a day earlier at Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters about the meeting, which had not been announced.
Word of the meeting, described as “warm and positive,” came ahead of White House talks later Wednesday between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to a report by the Ma’an news agency, based on a “reliable” source, the meeting took place in the PA’s headquarters in Ramallah, known as the Muqataa, and was also attended by the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Majed Faraj.
Senior Palestinian security sources told Israel Radio that Tuesday’s meeting between Abbas and Pompeo was the second in recent weeks, with the first one taking place at the start of February.
During the meeting, the sides reportedly discussed the two-state solution, the security situation in the region, Israeli settlement activities, and the outlines of the future relationship between the Palestinian leadership and the Trump White House.
Last week Faraj reportedly met with US security and intelligence officials in Washington.
On Tuesday, the day before Trump and Netanyahu were set to meet for the first time since the president took office, the White House announced that Washington will seek to broker a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, but that a two-state solution may not necessarily be the framework to bring that peace to fruition and that the president will not insist on it.
For his part, Netanyahu is expected to tell Trump during their meeting that the establishment of a Palestinian state is currently impossible, Israel’s Channel 2 reported earlier Tuesday.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat stated Wednesday that “the only alternative to two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 border is one single secular and democratic state with equal rights for everyone, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, on all of historic Palestine.”
Such a solution was backed Monday by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the Jerusalem Conference in the capital.
“I, Rubi Rivlin, believe that Zion is entirely ours. I believe the sovereignty of the State of Israel must be in all the blocs,” he said, emphasizing that he was referring to the entire West Bank.
“Applying sovereignty to an area gives citizenship to all those living there,” he said repeatedly. “There is no [separate] law for Israelis and for non-Israelis.”
Eric Cortellessa and Marissa Newman contributed to this report.