US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday slammed Iran’s “faux concern” for the Palestinians after its supreme leader called on Muslims to oppose the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan, accusing him of threatening violence against Israel before the fast day of Tisha B’Av.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called the US plan a “a crime against human society,” and urged “active participation” in efforts to block the still-unreleased proposal. In a letter marking the Islamic hajj pilgrimage, Khamenei said the plan was a “ruse” that’s “doomed to failure.”
Khamenei, who has regularly called for Israel’s destruction, said the Palestinians had “not given in to defeat” and “stand tall on the battlefield.” “The ultimate result requires all Muslims’ assistance,” he said.
Pompeo hit back on Sunday, accusing Khamenei and the Iranian government of destabilizing the region by backing terrorist groups with millions of dollars “to kill more Jews.”
“Khamenei’s faux concern for the Palestinian people runs so deep that under his reign of terror he provided less than $20,000 in aid since 2008, while sending millions to Hamas & other terrorists,” Pompeo tweeted. “In contrast, US provided $6.3 billion in support to Palestinians since 1994.”
“It’s sick that on the eve of Tisha B’Av — a solemn day for the Jewish people — Khamenei calls for violence against the Jewish state,” he said.
Tisha B’Av, which began Saturday evening, marks the destruction of the two Jewish temples and other disasters in Jewish history.
Pompeo defended the administration’s peace plan, which thus far centers on a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal, but avoids core political issues that are key to resolving the dispute.
“Khamenei doesn’t see ‘progress’ as prosperity for the Palestinian people, but Palestinian terrorists switching from rocks to rockets to kill more Jews,” he said.
The US has so far kept the political elements of its plan under wraps, while the economic aspects of it were presented in June by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner at an American-led conference in Bahrain. The economic aspect of the plan would see a $50 billion investment package for the Palestinians and the wider region.
The Palestinians skipped the Bahrain conference and have rejected the peace plan outright, pressing on with their boycott of the administration since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and cut Palestinian aid.
Palestinians say the plan is an attempt to bribe the Palestinian people without addressing their demands for independence.
This year’s hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia comes amid heightened tensions in the nearby Persian Gulf between the US and Iran.