U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election-promise of asserting Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, would not hurt the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century.” In an exclusive interview with the American Broadcaster CNN, Pompeo stressed that the long-awaited peace initiative would lay out a vision that will represent a significant change from the model that was used to date. The Top American diplomat explained that ‘after 40 years of exhausting a lot of ideas that did not deliver peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, the Trump Administration decided to put forward a “new” vision that is different and unique from past attempts. Instead of repeating the same efforts and expecting a different outcome, the Trump initiative tries to reframe and reshape what has been an intractable problem – with the aim of providing “a better life” for both Israeli and Palestinians.
Meanwhile in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has once again rejected the so-called “Deal of the Century.” In a meeting with his newly sworn-in Palestinian government, Abbas re-emphasized that the American peace initiative has lost its validity the moment Jerusalem was taken off the negotiating table. “Deal of the century which was presented to us, which we do not think that there is anything left of it that was not publicized yet, and if there is anything left that has not been publicized yet, then it must be worse than what was made public, and therefore, from the beginning we came to understand that such a plan will not be accepted by us. It’s enough that it excluded Jerusalem from Palestine, we do not want to hear the rest. What kind of solution and cause does President Trump plan to discuss? I doubt that there is a point to having discussions with him after he moved the embassy to Jerusalem, and announced that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.
The statement by President Mahmoud Abbas came after he swore in a new Palestinian government, headed by a loyalist from his dominant Fatah faction. The new government sparked anger among Abbas’s rivals, including the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, which termed the new government formation as a blow to intra-Palestinian unity efforts. The newly appointed Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh is an economist and a long-time adviser to the Palestinian President.