Netanyahu meets with Mike Pompeo
Netanyahu meets with Mike Pompeo Koby Gideon/GPO

The US is working to organize a Middle East peace conference, slated for some time in the next few weeks, a senior Arab diplomat said, according to a report by Israel Hayom.

The diplomat, who represents the United Arab Emirates, said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s five-day visit to the Middle East and Africa, which began with meetings in Jerusalem yesterday, is part of the US effort to lay the groundwork for the upcoming peace summit.

Specifically, the diplomat claimed, Pompeo is working to secure agreement from Arab states and Muslim-majority countries in Africa to attend the summit, which will be held in one of the Arab Gulf states.

Israel and the UAE, which recently agreed to normalize relations, will both send delegations to the summit.

In addition, a number of other countries have signed on, agreeing to send delegations to the summit. Sudan, Chad, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman all have vowed to attend the summit, the UAE diplomat said.

Other states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan – the latter two already having recognized Israel in prior peace agreements – have yet to respond to US invitations to the summit.

The diplomat added that prior to and during Pompeo’s visit to Israel, the Palestinian Authority leadership was invited to the upcoming Mideast summit. The message was also conveyed to the PA that Pompeo is willing to visit PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to personally invite Abbas to the summit.

But, the diplomat continued, Abbas and other PA leaders rejected the offer out of hand.

“They even sent the message that Pompeo is not wanted in Ramallah,” the diplomat 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. 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.”