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New secretary of state says Israel, Palestinian peace still a US priority

01 May 2018
New secretary of state says Israel, Palestinian peace still a US priority

The killings came after Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian protesters and wounded hundreds more on Friday, when the soldiers and snipers opened fire during the Palestinians' weekly nonviolent protest near the Gaza border.

The Palestinians say Israel has used excessive force, and its use of live fire has drawn global criticism. Part of that commemoration this year is expected to be possibly tens of thousands of Palestinians rushing the Israel barrier.

Discussions addressed the peace process, with the King stressing the importance of stepping up regional and global efforts to relaunch serious and effective Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, based on the two-state solution leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"(The Mideast peace) is an incredible priority for the United States to provide whatever assistance we can to allow the two parties to come to a resolution on this incredibly long standing and important conflict", he continued.

"With respect to the two-state solution", he said, "the parties will ultimately make the decision about what the right resolution is. We urge the Palestinians to return to that political dialogue", he added.

Pompeo spoke with no Palestinians during talks Sunday in Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or Monday in Jordan.

Mr Pompeo said on Sunday that the U.S. was deeply concerned by Iran's "destabilising and malign activities" in the Middle East.

Palestinians have rejected USA peace making efforts since Trump chose to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy to the city, wanted by Palestinians as capital of their own state. The announcement was a major shift by Washington that overturns decades of U.S. foreign policy.

"The PA perceives land registration as an important legal means for proving Palestinians' ownership of land in Judea and Samaria", ostensibly to "make it as hard as possible for Israelis to purchase land in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem and to grant advantages to Palestinians who turn to the courts, including Israeli courts", the report states. "We are certainly open to a two-party solution as a likely outcome", Pompeo said in Jordan after his visit to Israel.

Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and parts of Syria's Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Jordan underscored the difficulties Pompeo will face balancing the Middle East peace process with the administration's impending embassy move to Jerusalem and its focus on Iran as the premier malign influence in the region.

Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967, but the Tel Aviv regime has defied that piece of worldwide law ever since.