Pompeo arrives in Israel to press further Gulf normalisation

Pompeo arrives in Israel on regional tour to encourage further Gulf normalisation
2 min read
24 August, 2020
Mike Pompeo met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and discussed the recently announced historic agreement between Israel and the UAE.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Israel on Monday [Getty]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Israel on Monday, on the first leg of his Middle East tour aimed at pushing through further Arab-Israeli peace deals.

Pompeo met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and discussed the controversial normalisation agreement between Israel and the UAE, which was reportedly brokered by Washington.

The two were expected to also discuss Iran and China.

The agreement delivered a key foreign policy victory to President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

It also reflected a changing Middle East, particularly in the Gulf, in which shared concerns about arch-enemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.

Read also: Israel 'encouraged' sale of Pegasus spyware to UAE and other Gulf regimes, report finds

Earlier this month, the US, Israel and the UAE announced the deal to establish full diplomatic relations. Abu Dhabi claims the deal requires Israel to freeze its delayed plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, sought by the Palestinians as part of their future state.

The deal breaks with Arab consensus that peace deals with Israel should only be agreed once a Palestinian state is established.

Palestinians held protests against the normalisation deal, which they view as a betrayal.

Later in the trip, Pompeo was to meet with Netanyahu's government partner and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, as well as Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

After his Israel stop Pompeo is also slated to visit Sudan, the UAE and Bahrain, with additional stops to Gulf states possible, the State Department had said.

In Sudan, the secretary of state said he would push for "deepening the Sudan-Israel relationship".

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