Mike Pompeo clarifies comments that peace plan could be biased toward Israel

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walked back comments he shared with Jewish leaders saying that it was an “inaccurate” perception that the Trump administration’s peace proposal could be seen as one-sided toward Israel.

The Washington Post reported Sunday on a recording obtained from an off-the-record meeting last week between Pompeo and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,” he said. “I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.”

On Monday, in an interview with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, he clarified those statements.

“I can see how someone might be concerned that a plan that this administration put forward might, without knowing the true facts of what is contained in the plan, they might perceive that it was going to be fundamentally one-sided,” Pompeo told Sinclair. “And I was articulating that there because it’s just simply not true.”

The plan, which has yet to be revealed, has been formulated by a team led by Jared Kushner, a top adviser to President Donald Trump and his Jewish son-in-law.

“I think there’ll be things in this plan that lots of people like, and I am confident, as I said — I think it was quoted in that paper as well — there’ll be something in there that everyone will find I’m concerned with,” Pompeo told Sinclar. “Our idea is to present a vision and to continue to work towards a very, very difficult situation’s conclusion.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other top Palestinian officials have refused to meet White House officials since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the city in December 2017.