US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that the United States was committed to supporting their ally in its right to defend itself.
“I want to express my condolences for the soldier that was killed [yesterday] and reminds us all of the importance of making sure that people all across Israel have the right to defend itself and America will consistently support you in that effort,” Pompeo said.
Netanyahu, in turn, thanked Pompeo for taking such a risk by traveling amid the pandemic, calling it a testament to the strength of their alliance and to the strength of US President Donald Trump’s commitment to the state of Israel.
“We are about to form a national unity government, tomorrow, I think that this 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. And these are all tremendous challenges and opportunities and we can do them because we have such a powerful bond that makes the alliance between Israel and the United States stand out … there is an unbreakable bond of values and interests that has kept this alliance together. It has never been stronger,” Netanyahu noted.
Pompeo is also expected to meet with Netanyahu’s former major political rival, the Knesset speaker Benny Gantz. After three general elections within a year, the two signed a coalition agreement and are in the final stages of forming the government, which is expected to be inaugurated on May 14.
Pompeo traveled to Israel on a rare overseas trip amid the pandemic to welcome a newly established government and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues, including plans to annex parts of the West Bank and the Iranian threat.