Pompeo pessimistic on Trump’s awaited Mideast plan

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo offered a pessimistic view of the Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, telling Jewish leaders the proposal might not “gain traction,” the Washington Post said Sunday, citing a recording of a recent closed-door meeting.

“It may be rejected,” Pompeo is quoted as saying. “Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘it’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out.’”

“The big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out,” he said, according to the Post.

The political plan, which is being crafted by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law — and U.S. special representative Jason Greenblatt, has been awaited for months. So far, Kushner has revealed little about what President Donald Trump has called the “deal of the century,” but it’s widely expected to include increased Israeli control over the West Bank.

In the meeting on May 28 with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a New York-based group that addresses concerns to the Jewish community, Pompeo said “one might argue” that the plan is “unexecutable” and it might not “gain traction.” He expressed his hope that the deal isn’t simply dismissed out of hand, according to the Post.

Pompeo noted delays in rolling out the plan: “This has taken us longer to roll out our plan than I had originally thought it might — to put it lightly.”

The Post said two people who attended the meeting, whom it didn’t identify, left with the impression that Pompeo wasn’t optimistic the plan would succeed. One person, who declined to be identified because the terms of the meeting were off-the-record, said the secretary wasn’t confident of a successful conclusion.

The group’s chief executive officer, Malcolm Hoenlein, said he thought Pompeo’s comments reflected his awareness of allegations that the plan would have a pro-Israel bias, but not the secretary’s own view of the plan, according to the Post.