Pompeo to visit occupied West Bank in first US trip to the settlement

UAE's Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed affirms commitment to Palestinian peace process

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and his wife Susan board a plane to leave for Jerusalem, at Tbilisi International Airport in Tbilisi, on November 18, 2020. / AFP / POOL / Patrick Semansky
Powered by automated translation

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit the occupied West Bank this week, the first visit by a top American diplomat to an Israeli settlement.

The West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

Since then, Israel has built about 130 settlements and dozens of smaller outposts, ranging from clusters of mobile homes on remote hilltops to fully developed towns.

Mr Pompeo's trip to the occupied West Bank will highlight a different approach taken by previous US administrations, Democratic and Republican, which frequently criticised Israel over settlement construction.

The Palestinians say the settlements make it nearly impossible to create a viable state.

The top US diplomat may also pay a visit to the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war.

The development comes as the UAE affirmed its commitment to promote peace between Palestine and Israel, the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, said on Tuesday.

A historic deal was recently signed between the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Israel to establish relations.

"Sheikh Abdullah discussed with the UN envoy for the peace process in the Middle East, Nikolai Miladinov, ways of putting the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis back on track in a way that contributes to strengthening security and stability in the Middle East," state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Abdullah said that achieving peace in the Middle East will "develop the region and ensure security and prosperity for its citizens".

The UAE official underlined his country’s willingness to further enhance co-operation with the UN and support all international efforts to promote stability and peace around the world.

Sheikh Abdullah previously said that the burgeoning relationship with Israel will "strengthen international stability" and that "tolerance and pluralism" must be strengthened in the region.