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Pompeo Makes Provocative Visit to Israel

Nov. 20, 2020 (EIRNS)—Pompeo made a very provocative stop in Israel yesterday, meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, overlooking the Old City, and then traveled to the Golan Heights with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, following a stop in the West Bank where he paid a visit to an Israeli settlement. In Jerusalem, Netanyahu gushed praise for all of the things that the Trump Administration has done for Israel, saying that “Israel’s alliance with the U.S. has reached unprecedented heights.” Thanks to Trump, he went on, the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory, pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran and placed “crippling sanctions” on Tehran instead, and so on. He was particularly effusive for the maximum pressure policy on Iran of which he said, “Iran’s feet have been held to the fire, and we have seen a reduction in the amount of support that they are giving to their various proxies in the region.”

“We’ve done incredible things; it’s remarkable,” Pompeo said in response. “You went through the list, whether it’s the simple fact of recognizing the reality of Jerusalem as the rightful, proper, true capital of Israel—crazy that the United States hadn’t done this for decades.” Instead of bringing war, Pompeo claimed, all these moves brought peace as shown by the normalization agreements with the U.A.E. and Bahrain.

Later on the Golan Heights, Pompeo declared that “this is a part of Israel and a central part of Israel.” Pompeo said that he had told Netanyahu earlier that “I very much wanted to come here on this trip to tell the world that we have it right. That we, the United States, has it right and that Israel has it right. And that each nation has the right to defend itself and its own sovereignty. And that the United States of America and the Trump Administration will continue to do all that we can to make sure that Israel has what it needs to do just that. And we will honor your right to defend your own people.”

The Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced “in the strongest terms” Pompeo’s visit to the Golan Heights as a “provocative step prior to the end of Trump’s Administration and at a time when the Israeli occupation authorities launch repeated aggressions on Syria, the latest of which was on Nov. 17th,” referring to the series of Israeli strikes on Syria earlier this week. The Golan region was originally part of Syria but militarily occupied by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Israel annexed the occupied area in 1981 but no government in the world recognized the legitimacy of the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights until President Donald Trump did in 2019.

The Arab League and Palestinian officials also denounced Pompeo’s stunts, including his visit to an Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank. The Arab League issued a statement saying Pompeo’s trip to the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights is against the norms of international law, reported Iran’s PressTV. PLO Executive Member Hanan Ashrawi said Pompeo’s visit is aimed at setting another illegal precedent. She went on to say that Pompeo is “trespassing on Palestinian land stolen by Israel” and “has done enough damage.”

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