By Hank Berrien
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the press after meeting privately on Monday, during which Netanyahu heaped praise on President Donald Trump.
“I have to say that quite a few years ago I had to stand sometimes alone in publicly rejecting the JCPOA and alerting the world on Iran’s aggression,” Netanyahu said. “That obviously changed with the inauguration of President Trump.”
Netanyahu started by noting his frequent conversations with Pompeo, adding, “We have met here in Jerusalem and in Washington and in so many places in between, but every meeting was characterized by that same powerful alliance of values that has informed your activity and the activity of the Trump administration that cements even further the historic American-Israeli alliance. I want to thank you, I want to thank the President, for all that you’ve done for Israel’s security and everything you’re doing to solidify this friendship.”
Netanyahu commended Trump and Pompeo for having “stood up to Iran’s aggression and triggered the snapback sanctions,” pointing out, “I think it’s important to point out that today we hear Gulf countries, countries in the Gulf, speak out as forcefully as I’m doing now. And I think that I would suggest to our friends, especially our European friends, this point: that when Arabs and Israelis agree on something, it makes sense to pay attention. So congratulations on the stand on the snapback and on the – your overall opposition to Iran’s aggression and its quest for nuclear weapons.”
“The second thing that has happened is equally historic, and that is the achievement of the Israeli-Emirati peace agreement, the creation of full normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Netanyahu continued. “This is the alliance of the moderates against the radicals, against those who use violence and aggression to further their aims against those who believe that we can offer a better future for our people through cooperation. It’s – I think it spells a change in the Middle East. It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that we have a peace agreement, and I want to thank again the President and you and your administration for helping bring it about.”
Netanyahu also noted, “I also learned from Secretary Pompeo – heard again a very, very strong commitment that under all circumstances, the United States will ensure Israel’s qualitative edge … I want to thank you for your friendship and for your support in the quest for peace and security, which we’re actually achieving.”
I appreciate your support. President Trump’s made clear: Iran will never have a nuclear weapon. And we are determined to use every tool that we have to ensure that they can’t get access to high-end weapon systems, air defense systems, the ones that the prime minister spoke of. We think it’s in the best interest of the whole world – many of these leaders tell me so privately. It’s time to stand up. It’s time to publicly account for the fact that Iran is on the cusp on October 18th of having access to those weapons and the money that will come from their sale of those weapons that will be used to inflict real harm, not only in the Middle East but in Europe as well. And so I’m confident that we’ll achieve that and I welcome Israeli and Gulf state support for our effort. The people most impacted by Iran having weapon systems are all in favor of this arms embargo being extended. The rest of the world should join us…
I’m very hopeful that we will see other Arab nations join in this. The opportunity for them to work alongside – to recognize the state of Israel and to work alongside them will not only increase Middle East stability, but it will improve the lives in each of the – for the people of their own countries as well …
President Trump told me I would be remiss if I didn’t once again say thank you for all that you have done to work alongside us to keep this security, to keep this relationship built. We’ve done our part in moving the embassy here, by recognizing the reality of what the Golan Heights is, by acknowledging that these settlements are not per se unlawful. These are the kinds of things that nations can do together to work to increase this security and stability for our two countries and for the region as well. It has been a great relationship, it will continue to be a great relationship, and it was an honor for me to be with you here again today, Mr. Prime Minister.