Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 - 14 of Sivan, 5780

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo on Israel visit, meets Netanyahu and Gantz

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The U.S. State Department said Pompeo ‘’will discuss U.S. and Israeli efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as regional security issues related to Iran’s malign influence.’’ ‘’The U.S. commitment to Israel has never been stronger than under President Trump’s leadership. The United States and Israel will face threats to the security and prosperity of our peoples together. In challenging times, we stand by our friends, and our friends stand by us,’’ it said.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday in Jerusalem with U.S. Secretary of aState Mike Pompeo.

‘’We so deeply appreciate the fact that this is your first visit abroad in some time that you are making to Israel for six hours. I think this is a testament to the strength of our alliance and the strength of President Trump’s commitment to the State of Israel and the strength of your commitment to the State of Israel and our alliance as well. I want to thank you for that too,’’ Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.

He said they have a lot to talk about, citing the the corona plague, the Iranian aggression and the formation of a new Israeli government that, he said, ‘’is an opportunity to promote peace and security based on the understandings that I reached with President Trump in my last visit in Washington in January.’’

The U.S. State Department said Pompeo ‘’will discuss U.S. and Israeli efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as regional security issues related to Iran’s malign influence.’’ ‘’The U.S. commitment to Israel has never been stronger than under President Trump’s leadership. The United States and Israel will face threats to the security and prosperity of our peoples together. In challenging times, we stand by our friends, and our friends stand by us,’’ it said.

During his short visit, Pompeo will also meet the Speaker of the Knesset, Benny Gantz, who is the leader of Blue and and White party, along with designated Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

This is the first diplomatic visit to Israel since the start of coronavirus pandemic It is also Pompeo’s first trip abroad since a surprise visit to Afghanistan in March. This is Pompeo’s fourth trip to Israel since taking office in 2018. He last visited in October 2019 to discuss efforts to push Iranian proxy militias out of Syria.

According to the coalition agreement, Netanyahu can bring forward legislation to annex West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley on 1 July. The agreement says that any step must be coordinated with the US while maintaining regional stability and exiting peace agreements. Ahead of 1 July and any announcement on annexation, a joint US-Israel team is expected to complete its mapping process and make their recommendations on Israel’s new boundary line.

With concern over annexation, France reportedly is encouraging the European Union to consider threatening Israel with sanctions. Earlier this week European diplomats told Reuters that Belgium, Luxembourg and Ireland were willing to consider suspending economic agreements with Israel.

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