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Pompeo lands in staunch ally Israel on farewell tour

Mike Pompeo is in Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 November, 2020

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MIke Pompeo arrived in Israel for a farewell visit after years of a staunchly pro-Israel US administration

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel Wednesday for a farewell visit as the chief diplomat of the strongly pro-Israeli Trump administration.

Palestinians protested as Pompeo was expected to become the first US top diplomat to visit a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, where a vineyard has named one of its wines after him.

Pompeo -- who has so far backed Donald Trump in refusing to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden -- is on a Europe and Middle East tour that has so far taken him to France, Turkey and Georgia.

He flew to Israel on the same day as the foreign minister of Bahrain, one of several Arab states that have agreed under US-brokered pacts to normalise relations with the Jewish state.

Palestinians have decried as a "betrayal" the historic deals which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed with Israel and which have since been matched in principle by Sudan.

Pompeo was to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdellatif al-Zayani at the start of his two-day visit.

Zayani said his trip, the first official visit to the Jewish state by a Bahraini official, marked "a further step on our journey towards a better, more peaceful, more secure and more prosperous Middle East."

All three countries -- and other Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- share a strong animosity toward Shiite Muslim regional power Iran.

They accuse the Islamic republic of seeking to build a nuclear bomb, fuelling unrest from Syria and Iraq to Lebanon and Yemen, and of seeking the destruction of Israel.

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