TEL AVIV – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s long-anticipated peace proposal might be “unexecutable” and could be seen as a deal that “only the Israelis could love,” in remarks leaked to the Washington Post.
In a closed-door meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Pompeo said that the proposal might not “gain traction” and critics could reject it as not “particularly original.”
“[F]olks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’” he told Jewish leaders.
Responding to the report, Trump said Pompeo’s skepticism may be justified.
“He may be right,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“When Mike says that, I understand when he says that, because most people think it can’t be done. I think it probably can. But, as I say often, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.
He added that the current political turmoil in Israel was “messed up.”
“Bibi got elected. Now, all of a sudden, they’re going to have to go through the process again until September? That’s ridiculous. So we’re not happy about that,” he said, and urged Israel’s leaders to “get their act together.”
Pompeo’s remarks were made a day before the deadline for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition, a deadline he ultimately failed to make, leading to the dispersal of the Knesset and a call for new elections in September.
While Pompeo said the plan was “very detailed,” he acknowledged that some parts are, “one might argue, unexecutable.”
He said the plan would first deal with the economic part of the deal before moving on to the security and political sections.
“Three things are certain, everyone will find something to hate about the proposal,” he said. “Everyone will find something, I think, including the Palestinians, will find something they say ‘that’s something to build upon.’ And the big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out.”
“I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” he said. “I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.”
“We’re under no illusions we’re going to show up with this thing and everyone’s going to say, ‘Tell me where to go for the signing ceremony,’” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“I hope everyone will look at it and say that there is at least a nugget of hope in there for me,” he said.
Next month, the U.S. is hosting an “economic workshop” in Manama, Bahrain to unveil the economic aspects of the deal. The summit has been snubbed by the Palestinians.
Pompeo’s remarks came as Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and Special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt visited the region in advance of the Manama workshop.
Kushner on Sunday suggested he was uncertain of the Palestinians’ ability to govern themselves.