Watch: Netanyahu meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

'Killing of IDF soldier highlights importance of preserving Israel's right to self defense,' says Pompeo during meeting with Netanyahu.

David Rosenberg , | updated: 10:10 AM

Netanyahu meets Pompeo in Jerusalem
Netanyahu meets Pompeo in Jerusalem
Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem Wednesday, shortly after Pompeo’s arrival in Israel.

The two met and held a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem Wednesday morning, ahead of working meetings between Netanyahu, Pompeo, and Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu told reporters that the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan – with its provision for the application of Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, the coronavirus, and US-Israeli cooperation against Tehran were among the issues to be discussed during Pompeo’s visit.

"We have a lot to talk about: the first thing is the plague. The corona plague is something that challenges the entire world - our two countries, and everyone else,” Netanyahu said.

"We would like talk about strengthening our cooperation, our partnerships in battling the coronavirus plague."

"The second thing is that there is something else 'plaguing' our region: the unremitting Iranian aggression and terror. I want to express my strong appreciation for the strong position that the president and you and your administration put forward against Iran, first by withdrawing from the dangerous Iran deal; second by taking head-on the masters of Iranian terror, third by continuing the arms embargo against Iran - which has not stopped for a minute its aggressive designs and its aggressive actions against Americans, Israelis and everyone else in the region."

“The third point is that now we’re about to form a national unity government tomorrow, I think that this is an opportunity to promote peace and security based on the understandings that I reached with President Trump in the last visit in Washington in January.”

“These are all tremendous challenges and opportunities, and we can do them because we have such a powerful bond that makes the alliance between the United States and Israel stand out certainly for us, but also for many other countries looking around. There is an unbreakable bond of values and interests that have kept us together.”

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Secretary of State Pompeo offered his condolences for the death of IDF Staff Sergeant Amit Ben Yigal, the 21-year-old soldier killed when a terrorist heaved a block at him from a three-story building during an arrest operation in northwestern Samaria Tuesday morning.

Pompeo said the highlighted the importance of preserving Israel’s right to self-defense.

“The incident reminded us of the importance of making sure that people all across the world know that Israel has the right to defend itself, and America will consistently support you in that effort.”

The Secretary of State said he would update the incoming Israeli government regarding the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

“We’ll get a chance to talk about the Vision for Peace. We’re now some months on from the day that you came to Washington when the president announced the Vision for Peace, when you were there.”

“There remains work yet to do and we need to make progress on it.”

Pompeo also accused Iran of using its resources to "foment terror" while its people face the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.

"Even during this pandemic the Iranians are using the ayatollah regime's resources to foment terror across the world, even when the people of Iran are struggling so mightily.”

Pompeo’s visit to Israel comes a day before the Thirty-Fifth Government of Israel, led by Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, is set to be sworn in.