“The U.S. and Israel 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,” said the U.S. State Department.
By Ezra Stone, United with Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Israel on Wednesday for a visit during which he is expected to express support for Israeli sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Israel plans to announce annexation of these communities within the next two months,
During the visit, Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz. Netanyahu and Gantz recently finalized Israel’s new unity government, which will be sworn in on Wednesday.
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,” announced State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Friday.
“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,” Ortagus’ statement continued.
Pompeo’s visit is his first trip abroad since traveling in March to Afghanistan, where the Taliban, an Islamic terror group, continues to foment violence and instability.
The Trump administration has expressed support for Israel’s annexation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, where close to half a million Israelis live.
During a press briefing on Friday, David Schenker, a top State Department advisor on the Middle East, commented, “The Secretary is making this trip because he recognizes the United States and Israel have much to learn from each other as we address current threats, whether those threats stem from a global pandemic or from Iran’s malign regional influence. The United States and Israel draw on each other’s strengths.”
Schenker continued, “That is true whether we’re mitigating and containing COVID-19 or countering Iranian destabilizing behavior. We stand side by side with Israel in addressing all threats to the security and prosperity of the American and Israeli peoples. Our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security is stronger than ever, as is the unbreakable tie between our countries.”
With regard to the Iranian threat, Schenker said, “Israel is a very close strategic partner of the United States. When we talk about Iran, we talk about all sorts of Iranian activities and the threats [they pose] to both Israeli interests and U.S. interests and personnel throughout the region.”
“We’re such a close ally, I think it’s important,” he added.
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