QUESTION:  So I want to talk about – first about the peace plan.  Now, this was rejected widely by all the Palestinians.  How are you going to overcome this rejection from the Palestinians?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  The plan that was presented is comprehensive, it’s detailed, it’s the first time there’s ever been such a comprehensive plan that actually had a map that the Israelis had agreed to.  It sets forth a path for a two-state solution for the Palestinians to have a state of their own.  It offers them $50 billion, we think as many as a million jobs, real prosperity and opportunity for the Palestinian people.

We are confident that as the Palestinians evaluate this proposal, their choice is what they have today or this as an opportunity.  This was an offer that’s been made.  It’ll sit out there for four years.  We hope over time the Palestinian people will recognize that pushing back against Hamas, allowing a real government to take shape and take form inside, all the conditions that we’ve set forth that would give the Palestinians a state, is an opportunity that the Palestinian people will realize comes along once in a lifetime.  This may be their last opportunity for it.  And we hope that as the days and weeks and months go on, they’ll take a good, hard look at this plan and decide this is indeed a plan that they can begin their negotiations.

QUESTION:  How is that possible if there’s months or years that the Palestinians still reject this plan?  How are you going to implement such a plan which was agreed by Israelis from —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  The Palestinians have a choice to make.

QUESTION:  A choice to make.  That’s it?  So it’s —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yeah, they have a choice to make.  They can do what the plan lays out.  Our plan says we’re presenting a vision.  It doesn’t mean we have everything just exactly right in there.  This is a vision.  This is an offer.  Present a counteroffer.  Present an alternative.  Present options.  Say, “Hey, these are the things we love.  We love the $50 billion.  We love the opportunity to have a state.  But boy, we’d rather see X, Y, or Z.”  Present that.

This is what we mean when we say that we ask the Palestinians to use this vision as the basis to begin a negotiation.  We hope that they’ll do that.  We know this is better for the Palestinian people.  We’ve seen all the other plans fail.  This is sufficiently detailed and sufficiently comprehensive and provides Israelis security and the Palestinians prosperity.  This is a good plan for them, and we hope that the Palestinian people will see it that way.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Well, on the map, I’ve had a look, and Shuafat, a refugee camp which is in East Jerusalem, was set to be the future capital of the Palestinian state.  You know Shuafat and you’ve visited Shuafat.


QUESTION:  It’s a very overcrowded refugee camp.  It’s not even a town.  For this to be city and to be a capital of a future Palestinian – how is that?  How is that going to happen?  How is that possible?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  It’s – we accomplished many things here.  Look at the entirety of the plan.  We give the Palestinians to have a U.S. embassy in their capital in East Jerusalem.  The Temple Mount, the status quo remains unchanged.  These are really good things.

Cities grow.  Places that are not cities today can be a city in six months, a year, three years.  People can build.  This is what we’re asking, and this is what the Palestinians ultimately have to decide:  Do they want to continue what they’re doing today?  Is this the best that the next generation of Palestinians can possibly hope for?  Are they prepared to enter into a conversation on the basis of this vision which undoubtedly offers a brighter vision for the Palestinian people?

I think people all across the world, including Arab states, will see this as a real opportunity, and I hope the Palestinian people will come grab that opportunity.

QUESTION:  Do you think if the Palestinians manage to get to that, on board with this plan, are there any points of this plan could be changed through negotiations with the Palestinians?  And for them, they didn’t have the chance to participate and have their input on this plan.  Will they have it later if they agree to sit and talk?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, they actually did have a chance.  They rejected it.  They refused to participate and to be part of the conversation.  That was their choice.

Yes, they’ll – this is a basis, what we’ve asked them to do.  This is a basis for negotiation.  We’ve asked them to do that.  We’ve made an offer.  Now it’s their responsibility to accept this offer and to consider what might be different, what might be better, and how they could begin to have a dialogue between Israel and themselves to lead to a brighter future for the Palestinian people and a secure future for the state of Israel as well.

QUESTION:  There has been some speculations that you talked to some Palestinians in the past few months, maybe year or two.  Are there any connections or communication with any of the Palestinian either political-level officials or non-official Palestinians, and who are they?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  I think it’s been very clear the outreach we’ve made to the Palestinians.  I don’t want to comment on conversations that may or may not have been had.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Well, Prime Minister – Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he talked about maybe on Sunday he will take over the Jordan Valley and recognize it as part of Israel.  Is this – which something goes against the plan for now.  Is this something you will support if it’s announced by Netanyahu on Sunday?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  We’ve had a very clear policy with respect to Israeli settlements.  That policy is not likely to change as a result of this.  What we’re hoping is that the lands that we’ve designated, the places we’ve said, yep, these are a part of the plan for Israel, and the land that we have reserved – importantly, the land that we have reserved for the Palestinian people – if they are willing to engage on this vision.

You can’t just say no your whole life.  You can’t just reject things and have days of rage.  That’s not good for your people.  What’s good for your people is to begin to have a dialogue, execute diplomacy, have conversation, demand that the world assist.  This is $50 billion in global assistance.  To throw your hand up and reject this immediately, I think the Palestinian people will come to see that that’s not in their best interest.

QUESTION:  And another topic, in Iran.  Iran is still putting that condition as lift the sanctions, we will sit and talk.  How do you see that?  Is that —

SECRETARY POMPEO:  The President tweeted the other day, “No Thanks.”  I’ll just repeat that.

QUESTION:  And on the Iranian enrichment, Iran is doing it right now.  It might now shorten the time for them to own a nuclear weapon.  What’s America going to do about that?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  There’s not going to be an Iranian nuclear weapon.

QUESTION:  And on – just very last question on Iraq.  You spoke to the Iraqi prime minister, and they said the security agreements will continue.  Does that mean that the American troops will stay in Iraq?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  So I’ve spoken to many Iraqi leaders.  Certainly, Prime Minister Abd al-Mahdi I’ve spoken to many times.  I’ve spoken to the Kurdish Regional leaders as well, as well as Sunni leaders from the west.  We’re going to continue to deliver against the counter – excuse me, against the counter-ISIS campaign.  That’s the commitment the United States has made.  We’re going to make sure we keep America safe.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, sir.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you very much.  It was great to be with you.  Thank you.


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future