US Secretary of State speaks from Washington, comparing Israel and the USA’s histories and independence, praising bilateral ties; Pompeo: It was remarkable to be there as the first senior American to have gone to the Western Wall alongside an Israeli prime minister; PA to boycott Trump’s workshop in Bahrain.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Tuesday night at an event commemorating “Israeli Embassy’s Independence Day Celebration” where he highlighted the strong bond, common history, and alliance between the United States and the State of Israel. Referring to Israel’s Declaration of Independence from 1948, he compared it to the United States Constitution, stating “When we think about the statement that Ben-Gurion read, we’re reminded of a similar document – one drafted on parchment by a 33-year-old man named Thomas [Jefferson], 243 years ago this coming July. That celebration continues here tonight, in this very room, in this special place.”
He went on, “First, each declaration forms its nation’s political bedrock. Second, both speak of central ideas that are “self-evident” – In the American case, it’s the truth that men are created equal and have rights that are unalienable. In Israel’s case, there’s a close parallel, based on the tradition the Hebrew prophets handed down: The right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate. Both documents were created by citizens who knew that their words must be backed up with military strength, who knew freedom requires an incredibly strong defense. And they were prepared to commit to that.” He added, “It’s these shared values that bind Americans and Israelis together and brings us together to celebrate…”
Pompeo spoke of the great successes for both Israel and the United States under the Trump Administration, from its embassy move to recognition of the Golan Heights, and on a personal note, “It was remarkable to be there as the first senior American to have gone to the Western Wall alongside an Israeli prime minister.”
On the UN, Iran and threats to the Jewish State, he spoke of the United States’ contribution to Israel’s security. On this, he stated, “We’ve bolstered Israel’s security too by applying maximum pressure against the single greatest threat to stability and security in the Middle East, and indeed, stability and security in Israel – the Islamic Republic of Iran.” On the UN, he boasted, “we’ve pushed back hard too against anti-Israel bias at the United Nations and will continue to oppose it wherever it raises its ugly head.” He praised the Trump Administration’s actions as “instinctive, they are reflexive, and they are right. And we do them because of that because they are in the best interest of both of our peoples.”
On the upcoming, first phase of the “Deal of the Century,” a workshop centered on economic opportunity for the Palestinians in Bahrain, he reported, “The White House has a vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which we will unveil this summer. It offers an opportunity, although no guarantee, that we hope we can have a brighter future for the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has confirmed it will boycott the conference. Senior negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, claimed on Thursday that “What the Trump Administration is seeking is not a peace agreement but a Palestinian declaration of surrender.” He spoke of concessions and criticized the United States’ support for the Zionist’s interests and occupation. Specifically addressing the focus of the workshop, to improve the Palestinian’s economy, he claimed “Economic growth can never be a substitute for the right to live in dignity, free from military occupation and oppression, in our homeland. The main obstacle to Palestinian economic growth is clear: the occupation.”
The Arab League, and participating states Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, are reportedly placing pressure on the PA to attend the conference in late June.
Photo: mark reinstein/Shutterstock.com