Pompeo Snubs Abbas During Israel Visit, Palestinian Official Says

Adviser for Palestinian president says even if meeting was sought, ban on Trump administration remains

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, April 29, 2018
Amr Nabil/AP

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not seek to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas or any Palestinian officials during his visit to Israel, according to a Palestinian official.

Nabil Shaath, an Abbas aide told Haaretz no one in Pomeo's bureau petitioned a meeting with the Palestinian president, and added that "even if there was such a petition, the official Palestinian stance remains unchanged, and it is not to meet with the American administration representatives."

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The PA also does not conceal its rage over a recent human rights report published by the Trump administration, in which it omits the word "occupied" when refering to the West Bank. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet with Pompeo at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv Sunday. The two are expected to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic Republic's presence in Syria.

Netanyhu spoke ahead of the government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, saying "Today we will welcome U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a true friend of Israel. I think that it is important that he is coming to Israel as part of his first visit outside the U.S. as Secretary of State."

The premier added that relations between Israel and the U.S. "are stronger than ever and I would like to take this opportunity to again to thank President Trump for the decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, which will take place in a few days. At the time, I said there would be other countries to join this move and I can tell you these things are indeed happening."

Pompeo, a former CIA director, is thought to be a key supporter of the Netanyahu government's politics, and he holds hawkish views on Iran. His appointment was seen as a step toward a tougher American policy regarding Tehran, with U.S. President Donald Trump recently vowing to cancel the Iran nuclear deal if significant changes are not made.