US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plan to visit Tel Aviv and several Arab capitals as part of Washington’s effort to prepare for a regional peace conference that would be held in a Gulf country and include Israel and Arab states.
According to Israel Hayom, the conference will most likely be held in the United Arab Emirates in wake of its decision to normalize relations with Israel, under a US-sponsored agreement.
An Emirati diplomat familiar with the matter said on Wednesday that Bahrain, Sudan, Oman, Morocco and Chad had given their preliminary approval to attend the conference.
The diplomat added that prior to and during Pompeo’s visit to Israel, Palestinian officials were invited to the summit.
The message was also conveyed to the Palestinian Authority that Pompeo is willing to visit PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to personally invite him to the summit.
Abbas and other PA officials dismissed the offer, snubbing the top American diplomat “and even sent the message that Pompeo is not wanted in Ramallah,” the UAE official said.
“The Palestinian position is very saddening. They were given an opportunity to deescalate the situation with a respectful invitation to take part in a regional peace conference, and they rejected it out of hand with no reasonable explanation,” he noted, according to Israel Hayom.
“The Palestinians have to come to grips with the fact that the wheels of peace have started to turn, and peace and normalization will come with or without the Palestinians even if they continue to be defiant,” he added.