Pompeo and Palestinians have “nothing to discuss” amid Gaza crisis

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. (photo: Thomas Coex / The New York Times)

No one at the State Department called Palestinian leaders to ask for a get-together with Mr. Pompeo, according to Palestinian officials.

By Gardiner Harris and Isabel Kershner | The New York Times | Apr 29, 2018


“No meeting in Ramallah on his first visit sets an ominous tone about prospects for any progress, or even dialogue, with the Palestinians.”
— Daniel Shapiro, former US ambassador to Israel


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Israel Sunday in the midst of the worst crisis in relations between Israelis and Palestinians in years, but he did not meet a single Palestinian representative and mentioned them publicly once.

For decades, American diplomats saw themselves as brokers between the two sides, and secretaries of state typically met Palestinian representatives on regional tours like this one. When relations between the two sides deteriorated, the United States sought to bridge the divide.

No more.

No one at the State Department called Palestinian leaders to ask for a get-together with Mr. Pompeo, according to Palestinian officials. And that may be because the Americans knew the answer they would have gotten: No.

Infuriated by President Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, paving the way for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested holy city, Palestinian leaders have cut off political contacts with the Trump administration. They say the White House can no longer be considered an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“There’s nothing to discuss,” said Xavier Abu Eid, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

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