Palestinian officials said that the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Israel and some Arab states will not contribute to any peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.
The officials told The Jerusalem Post that Pompeo’s main task was to advance normalization between some Arab countries and Israel “at the expense of the Palestinian people.” The US administration, they said, has disqualified itself from playing any role as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Pompeo’svisit aims to strengthen relations between Israel and the UAE and pressure other Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel,” a PA official told the Post. “The Trump administration is pursuing its scheme of liquidating the Palestinian issue. It’s sad to see that some of our Arab brothers are helping the Trump administration in its effort.”
Another official told the Post that the main purpose of Pompeo’s visit was to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump. “The Trump administration has shown that it is ready to do its utmost to bolster Netanyahu’s popularity,” the official said. “The visit is also aimed at helping Trump get reelected by presenting a major diplomatic achievement in the Middle East. The Americans and the rest of the world need to understand that without the Palestinians there can be no real peace in the region.”
The officials said the Palestinian leadership has no intention to end its boycott of the Trump administration.
On the eve of Pompeo’s visit to Israel, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat published an article titled “The birth of Arab Zionists” in which he lashed out at the policies and decisions of the Trump administration and the recent normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Referring to Pompeo’s October 11, 2019, speech to American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee, where the secretary of state talked about his “walk with Christ” and role as a “Christian leader,” Erekat wrote: “Extremist Christian Zionism has appeared in many forms: support for Israel and its advancement as opposed to the backwardness and corruption of the undemocratic Arabs and Muslims. This is one of form of justifying support for Israel. Their use of religion reached the point where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was walking with Christ in order to legalize settlements, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and annex Palestinian territories.”
Erekat was referring to Pompeo’s statement late last year that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”
Commenting on Arab support for the Israel-UAE deal, Erekat asked: “Are we witnessing today the overt birth of the Arab Zionists? Whoever reads what is written by those who defend the UAE’s decision to recognize Israel finds glorification of Israel, its freedom and its advancement. Some [Arabs] have even said ‘Palestine is not my cause’ and ‘Israel is a loyal ally.’ They are also hurling insults at the Palestinian people for their lack of loyalty, their ungratefulness and the corruption of Palestinian leaders, all because the Palestinian people insisted on their adherence to the Arab Peace Initiative, the Arab League Charter and the Charter of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as the Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and international law, and the rejection of the Emirates’ decision, which was accepted only by the writers of palaces and the owners of paid pens.”
The UAE’s decision to establish normal relations with Israel, Erekat charged, “is more than a stab of a poisoned dagger in the Palestinian back, because we believe in the Arabism of our cause and our Arab national security, and the Palestine Liberation Organization did not accept that it be a tool in the hands of entities or systems that tried to use it.”
Erekat pointed out that the Palestinians said no to the Trump administration, knowing that they might pay a financial and political price because the US “has the tools of pressure and influence over states.”
The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) claimed that Pompeo’s visit to the region aims to advance Israel’s plan to apply its sovereignty to portions of the West Bank and promote normalization between the Arab countries and Israel.
Hassan Abdel Hamid, member of the DFLP’s political bureau, said that Washington’s effort to convince more Arab states to establish ties with Israel was designed to exert pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with Israel and accept Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” vision for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abdel Hamid warned the Arab states not to engage in normalization activities with Israel and to abide by the resolutions of Arab summits and the Arab Peace Initiative, which states that such a move would be taken only after a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.