Secretary of State Pompeo Visits Western Wall in Israel

(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, touch the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on March 21, 2019, during the second day of Pompeo's visit as part of his five-day regional tour …

(UPI) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrapped up his two-day trip to Israel on Thursday with a historic visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Pompeo’s Western Wall visit marked the first time a U.S. secretary of state visited Jerusalem’s contested Old City accompanied by a senior Israeli official, the Times of Israel said.

Pompeo appeared at the wall with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and Western Wall Heritage Foundation director Mordechai Eliav.

On Thursday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Pompeo that he was a “great friend of Israel and we value your strong support very much.”

Their meeting touched on Israel’s northern border, an increase of Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon and Iranian support for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“These are not just words, this is what we do on a daily basis for the benefit of us both,” Pompeo told Rivlin. “The United States has a moral and political obligation to prevent hostile forces eroding regional stability, and that is what we will do.”

On Wednesday, Pompeo and Netanyahu talked about Iranian aggression in the region and how to curtail its influence in the Middle East. Pompeo also participated in a trilateral summit with Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Netanyahu said in Jerusalem that the “United States and Israel are working in close coordination to roll back Iranian aggression in the region and around the world.”

High-level talks between the United States and Israel will continue in the near-future, as the Trump administration confirmed Netanyahu will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to talk about Middle East security and dine with President Donald Trump. Trump and Netanyahu have publicly expressed support for each other in previous meetings.

etanyahu is trying to win his fifth term as prime minister but is facing the possibility of bribery charges from the country’s attorney general.

What Pompeo did not talk about is the U.S.’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, which he said will not be released until after the Israeli election.


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