QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, this deal of the century, as it’s being sold, would give a part of the outskirts of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. They would not, however, have dominion over all the holy sites. How do you get them to the table? They’re already saying they reject this deal. What do you offer them? How do you get them to negotiate?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, thanks for having me on. What President Trump laid out today is historic. It is the first time that there has been a detailed, factual map. It’s the first time there’s been 80 pages of detail about what this might look like, a real offer: something for the Israelis, who have now said yep, we’ll negotiate; and something for the Palestinians to consider. This is a big step forward in its own rite. We’ve seen the reactions across the region. There are many who are thoughtfully saying let’s take a look, let’s evaluate this. This preserves the Temple Mount and the status quo. It ensures Israel will always be secure. It provides an opportunity if the Palestinians will stop their terror and their funding of the martyrs, if they —

QUESTION: Hamas? Disarm?

SECRETARY POMPEO: And Hamas, if they’ll disarm Hamas, if they’ll do these things that are simple – these are things we ask of every nation-state – if they’ll do those, the Palestinians have an opportunity to have a state for themselves. This is a real offer based on both the history of the Holy Land and the reality on the ground today. This is a good opportunity to really change the nature of the relationship between these people who have been so challenged for all of these years, to figure out how to get peace and prosperity as between them.

QUESTION: Today at the announcement, President Trump said, look, I’ve done a lot for the Israelis, now I’m going to have to do a lot for the Palestinians to be fair. What do you expect him to do for them? Is this an opening offer?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So this is a vision, and when you have a vision you expect an offer to be responded to by a counter offer. I would fully – I would fully expect that the Palestinians would – and the Palestinian people will – debate this, they’ll discuss it, and they’ll consider it. I hope that they will then decide that they want to enter into negotiations based on that. And if they do – right, so part of this is that there is land designated that for four years the Israelis agree they will not settle this land, and they will hold this open for a Palestinian state, conditioned on the Palestinians doing some basic things.

QUESTION: I want to read you a response. This is Senator Leahy, who said this diminishes the prospects for peaceful coexistence. He said it’s a roadmap for annexing settlements and territory and indefinite occupation while creating a mirage of a future Palestinian state. Your reaction?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, there’ll always be cynics and critics, but I can say this: There have been lots of plans come before this, and there have been those who have just said let’s keep the status quo. President Trump didn’t find either of those acceptable. He said let’s work, let’s come up with a vision, let’s set a roadmap which creates an opportunity for a secure Israel and a Palestinian state, with enough detail that the parties can evaluate whether this is something that makes sense for them.


SECRETARY POMPEO: We hope – we hope that they both will, and we truly believe this reflects the reality that we are living in today in this incredibly special place in the Holy Land.

QUESTION: Well I went back and read Yitzhak Rabin’s suggestion, his offer. It’s very similar to this roadmap; it’s not dissimilar. It was a state, a partitioning of the East Jerusalem. This is the two-state solution that everybody for a long time had wanted. We’ll see how it progresses.

Now, I know you’re on your way to the UK. The administration warned Boris Johnson about allowing Huawei, that Chinese company, to build out their 5G network. They decided to do it. Your message to the UK today and how might this impact our intelligence sharing with the UK going forward?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I haven’t seen precisely what they decided to do. It’s been a busy day. But we are unambiguous about this. American security – your privacy, my privacy, our information – won’t flow across networks that are at risk of being taken – having that data taken away by the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei is, in fact, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party. They have a requirement to share information that they have with the state of China.

We’ll have to evaluate what the United Kingdom did, how their decision was made, what the ramifications of that decision are. And I hope – I hope Prime Minister Johnson and my counterpart Dominic Raab are prepared to work with the United States to ensure that there are viable pathways for the world’s information to pass across trusted networks, including trusted networks inside the United Kingdom.

QUESTION: You and Congress warned the UK about this and said there would be penalties if you allow this company, this Chinese company, access to your information highway, 5G network. What might those penalties be?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So we’ve talked about the fact that American information, American national security information, will not be permitted to pass across networks that we can’t trust. So we’ll have to evaluate what they did. We’ll have to go take a look at how these networks will interact with the information that flows.

I haven’t seen what the solution was that Prime Minister Johnson put forward today. We will look at it, the national security team will look at it. And the American people should know we’ll make sure that we do the right thing with our information, and we’ll always encourage such close, wonderful partners like the United Kingdom to make sure they get their systems right as well.

QUESTION: There have been a lot of questions raised in recent days in connection with the impeachment trial about Ambassador Yovanovitch and her being dismissed. In all the questions, could you clarify for the public: Every ambassador serves at the pleasure of the president, correct? So if a – if an ambassador is not fulfilling the duties of that president or following the directives of the given State Department at the time, they can be relieved of their duties, correct?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I am also mindful that every secretary of state serves at the pleasure of the president; and when I lose the president’s confidence or the president’s trust, or for the reason that the president thinks there might be someone that can perform these functions in a way that is more consistent with how he wants his secretary of state to do that job, the president has every right to say, “No thanks, Mike. I don’t need any more of your time. Thank you for your service.” It’s true for everyone of our ambassadors, for every political appointee.

These are the president’s people tasked with executing the president’s mission. And the president not only has the right – but frankly, as the individual who was elected by the American people – to make sure he is comfortable, confident, and has trust in all of those being asked to execute his foreign policy.

QUESTION: A final quick question about the peace plan. I know a lot of our viewers are very concerned about the safety of those holy sites, those sites associated with Christ, King David, the Old Testament. Are those sites protected and guaranteed under this peace deal?

SECRETARY POMPEO: They are. There’s no change in the status quo for the holy sites or for the Temple Mount itself.


SECRETARY POMPEO: You’ve been there; I’ve been there. These are amazing places shared by the Abrahamic faiths, and we are determined to make sure that the security for those places remains intact so that people of all faiths can travel there to be part of this really special place.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for the time.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much, sir.

U.S. Department of State

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