Pompeo in Jordan: US ‘fully supportive’ of Israel’s right to defend itself

“We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that,” Pompeo stated in Jordan.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a priority for the Trump administration.

“We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that,” Pompeo declared. He declined to criticize the Israeli military for its use of live fire against Palestinian terrorists along the Gaza border.

Speaking in the Jordanian capital of Amman while wrapping up the Middle East leg of his first overseas trip as America’s top diplomat, Pompeo called on the Palestinians to return to long-stalled peace talks with Israel.

But he did not agree with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi’s characterization of the conflict as “the main cause of instability” in the region.

“The parties will ultimately make the decision as to what the correct resolution is,” Pompeo told reporters at a joint news conference with Safadi. “We are certainly open to a two-party solution as a likely outcome.”

However, the Palestinians would have to return to a political dialogue in order to get there, he added.

“An important piece of achieving Middle East stability is to resolve this conflict,” Pompeo stated. “Precisely how to rank it among all the various challenges, I’ll defer on that. Know that it is an incredible priority for the United States to provide whatever assistance we can to allow the two parties to come to a resolution.”

Safadi opened the news conference with what appeared to be an appeal to the US to boost efforts to end the conflict.

“This is the main cause of instability in the region, and its resolution is the key to achieving the peace and stability we want,” he said. “Yes, the two-state solution is being challenged. Yes, there are many obstacles. But what is the alternative? We cannot give up in our efforts, and there is no viable alternative.”

Pompeo’s comments came at the end of a two-day visit to Israel and Jordan during which he did not meet Palestinian representatives. The Palestinians have essentially boycotted contacts with the US since Trump announced in December that the US was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pompeo’s visit is also taking place just two weeks before the planned May 14 opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem and the massive Palestinian protests expected for the following day.