CIA Chief Meets Palestinian President Abbas Ahead of Netanyahu-Trump Summit

Jack Khoury
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Mike Pompeo and Mahmoud Abbas.
Mike Pompeo and Mahmoud Abbas.Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
Jack Khoury

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CIA director Mike Pompeo met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in Ramallah, a day before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's White House meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Palestinian security sources told Haaretz that the meeting took place at Abbas' headquarters. The sources did not elaborate on the contents of the meeting, but said that the two discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other regional issues, including the war in Syria.

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The meeting was also attended by head of Palestinian intelligence, Majid Faraj, senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and other officials, the sources said.

A Palestinian security source said that the meeting was scheduled last week during meetings Faraj held with senior American intelligence officials in Washington.

According to the source, the Palestinians stressed, both at Tuesdays' meeting and last week, the consequences of the collapse of the peace process.

"The Americans needed to understand that the collapse of the PA – in such a manner that there will be no way to implement the two-state solution, as quite a few elements in the Netanyahu government are striving for – will lead to the entry of extremist elements, perhaps associated with Iran," the source said. "When speaking of national security, the outlook isn’t as to just what happens in the West Bank, but about the repercussions for the whole area, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia."

According to the source, the Palestinians heard reassuring messages about the two-state solution at the meeting. The things said at the meeting, the source added, were not in line with the statement later made by an anonymous White House official.

The U.S. administration official had said overnight that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is high on Trump's agenda, but whether or not that will entail the two-state solution depends on the two sides.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said that that statement, which isn’t insistent on a two-state solution, constitutes a "dangerous shift" in the American position on the conflict.

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