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Palestinian president meets CIA chief in Ramallah

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo one day before a planned visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday, reported Anadolu Agency (Turkey).
Abbas and Pompeo met at Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, where they discussed the Israel-Palestine dispute and other regional issues, the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The source described the meeting -- which was also attended by Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj and other senior officials -- as "deep" and "very positive".
At Tuesday’s meeting, Abbas reiterated his commitment to a "two-state solution" to the dispute, warning of "dire consequences" should the peace process collapse, according to the official.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu is slated to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, where the two men are expected to discuss the Palestine issue, the conflict in Syria and Iran's nuclear-energy program.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, for his part, warned that Israel was trying to "bury the two-state solution" through unbridled land theft and the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The only alternative two a two-state solution, Erekat said, was a single democratic state with equal rights for Muslims, Christians and Jews.


President Donald Trump's break with decades of US support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is irresponsible and does not advance peace, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday, reported The New Arab (UK).

"This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace," said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member.
"They cannot just say that without an alternative...This does not make sense."
Ashrawi's comments to AFP come after the Trump administration said peace between Israel and the Palestinians may not come in the form of a two-state solution.
"If I ask five people what a two-state solution is I get eight different answers,” a senior White House official said on the eve of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's visit to the White House.

“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve. Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that’s what the parties want, or something else.
“If that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them. We’re not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be.”
The comments were seen as a dramatic shift from the stance of former leader Barack Obama who said he saw no alternative.

For the better part of half a century successive US governments, Republican and Democrat, have backed a two-state solution.
But since coming to office Trump has sought to show that the United States is an unwavering ally of Israel, trying to draw a contrast with Obama.
Trump’s inauguration marked a new opportunity for Netanyahu to reinforce bonds with Washington having enjoyed a prickly relationship with the Obama administration.
Obama often warned that Israeli settlement construction could make a two-state solution impossible, and that a one-state solution would put the future of the Israel in question.
But since Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Israel has announced the construction of over 6,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israeli officials have also explicitly expressed their intentions to annex the entire West Bank in recent statements.
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett earlier this month vowed the annexation of the entire West Bank, as authorities worked on evacuating the illegal Amona outpost.
Any new peace proposal by the Trump administration will likely involve forcing Palestinians to make further concessions to Israel.

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