Pompeo to visit Israel, UAE this week following peace deal


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to travel to Israel and the United Arab Emirates this week to congratulate the leaders of both countries on their agreement to normalize ties, a person familiar with the travel plans told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night. He is also expected to discuss Iran and China during the trip.In addition, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Special Representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brian, and outgoing Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook are expected to travel to Israel and the UAE at the beginning of September, the source said.The story about the peace team’s trip to the region was first reported by Axios.According to a person familiar with the plans, the four would travel to Israel and the UAE to personally congratulate the leaders of both countries on the diplomatic breakthrough to normalize relations between the sides. They are also expected to get updates on the working groups’ discussions on normalization.The peace team is also looking into possible visits in additional Arab countries – such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar – during their trip to the region.US officials and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said that the UAE was just the first of a number of Arab countries expected to sign deals with Israel. Speculation is high that the next countries to formalize ties with Israel would be Bahrain and Oman.On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he believed Saudi Arabia would agree to a deal with Israel.On Friday Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal said his country would only consider doing so if such a deal included an agreement for a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.Israel has never agreed to that formula. Trump’s peace plan calls for a two-state solution in which the Palestinians receive 70% of the West Bank and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem outside the boundaries of the security barrier.In Virginia on Friday Trump spoke of how popular a deal with Israel was in the Arab world. “Everybody is saying, ‘Why haven’t you invited us?’ Okay, we’re… many countries now want to come in.”

Reuters contributed to this report.