Secretary speaks to hundreds at Israel anniversary DC event

Pompeo: White House has a ‘vision of peace’ to be unveiled in the summer

Top US diplomat says Trump plan will offer an opportunity for ‘a brighter future’; vows to ‘continue to oppose anti-Israel bias wherever it raises its ugly head’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses Israel's 71st Independence Day Celebration at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, on May 22, 2019 (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses Israel's 71st Independence Day Celebration at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, on May 22, 2019 (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday night that the Trump administration has a “vision of peace” that will be released over the summer, when the White House unveils its long-awaited proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Speaking before a crowd of hundreds in the nation’s capital at an event celebrating Israel’s 71st anniversary, the American diplomat stressed that the package will seek improvements to Palestinians’ quality of life.

“The White House has a vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which we will unveil this summer,” Pompeo said. “It offers an opportunity, although no guarantee, that we hope we can have a brighter future for the Palestinian people.”

Pompeo’s remarks were made at an annual event hosted by the Israeli embassy in Washington at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. They came after the administration said on Sunday it would roll out the economic part of the plan during a June gathering in Bahrain, formally dubbed the Peace to Prosperity workshop.

Administration officials have tried to assuage concerns that the Trump plan will focus only on economic gains for the Palestinians without fulfilling their political aspirations.

US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, arrives at a news conference about a water-sharing agreement between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in Jerusalem, July 13, 2017. (AFP/POOL/RONEN ZVULUN)

“To those falsely claiming our vision is just economic peace: we’ve been clear that the economic vision we present can’t exist without the political component, and the political component can’t succeed without the economic,” White House special envoy for Mideast peace Jason Greenblatt tweeted Monday. “Don’t believe rumors the plan is only economic. It’s not.”

The Palestinians have rejected the confab, and are already calling the Trump administration’s proposal dead on arrival. The PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Palestinian officials will not attend the workshop, which will take place on June 25-26.

Abbas’s PA cut ties with the Trump administration in 2017 after it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there.

Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Trump’s White House responded with a series of punitive measures, including severing assistance to the Palestinian Authority, defunding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and discontinuing the PLO’s Washington office.

At Wednesday’s event, Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer introduced Pompeo and said he appreciated the US role in trying to broker peace in the region — although he did not specifically mention the Palestinians.

“Israel is deeply grateful for all the support it has received from the United States over the decades, from Republican and Democratic administrations alike,” he said. “That support includes … dedicated efforts to help Israel achieve peace with our Arab neighbors.”

Pompeo also noted the current administration’s hardline policy toward Iran, which in recent weeks has escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran.

“We’ve bolstered Israel’s security…by applying maximum pressure against the single greatest threat to stability and security in the Middle East, and indeed stability and security in Israel: the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.

Last year, Trump withdrew the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions against Iran — a policy choice that was deeply supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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