CIA Chief Met with Abbas Before Trump-Netanyahu Meeting

Newly-appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah the night before Wednesday’s summit between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Pompeo and Abbas reportedly discussed “political and security issues in addition to the the future of the peace process,” a Palestinian security source told the Post.

Other Palestinian officials were also at the meeting, including PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who met with American officials in Washington last week.

Pompeo also visited Saudi Arabia on his trip, his first visit abroad since his confirmation late last month. The meeting was also the first between Abbas and a Trump administration official since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

The meetings came in the context of growing flexibility within the White House over what it views as acceptable parameters for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. During his joint press conference with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Trump stated that he was open to whichever solution was acceptable to both sides. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” he said.

Trump and Netanyahu also hinted at the possibility that Israeli-Palestinian peace would come about as part of a broader regional realignment between Israel and the Arab world. Trump said that the two leaders were discussing a “new concept…[that] is something that allows them to show more flexibility than they have in the past, because we have a lot bigger canvas to play with.”

[Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr ]