Photo Credit: US Embassy in Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FM Gabi Ashkenazi on the Golan Heights. Nov. 19, 2020

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel Sunday ahead of the opening this coming Monday evening of the Friedman Center to Advance Peace made by the Abraham Accords, to be launched by its founder, former US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

On Monday morning, the Israeli Knesset will hold a special session to celebrate the launch of the Abraham Accords Caucus of the legislative body, to be attended by Pompeo, Abraham Accords architect Jared Kushner and other members of the Trump peace team.

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In advance of those events, Pompeo addressed an intimate gathering Sunday evening at the Psagot Winery in the Sha’ar Binyamin Commercial Center in Samaria, also attended by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during whose administration Israel signed the historic Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

One year ago, the owner of the winery had named a new series of wine after then-Secretary Pompeo and sent him a case of the bottles.

During his trip to Israel that November, Pompeo visited the winery on his tour of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, becoming the first US Secretary of State to visit Judea and Samaria. Pompeo, a devout Christian, also visited the Qasr al-Yahud baptism site in the Jordan River Valley.

The trip constituted a strong statement of support by the Trump administration for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights – recognized by the US in March 2019 after the annulment of a 1978 US State Department opinion that Israeli settlements are “inconsistent with international law.”

The annulment of that stance, known as the Pompeo Doctrine, states that “based on facts, history and special circumstances, the US will no longer ascribe to the categorization of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria as contrary to international law.”

Also in March 2019, Pompeo became the first US Secretary of State to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The Biden administration has since rolled back that determination and resumed labeling Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as located in “occupied Palestinian territories.”

Following is a complete transcript of Pompeo’s remarks at the Psagot Winery.

“It is deeply humbling to be here today in this incredibly special place in the world.

“Mr. Prime Minister it’s great to see you again.

“I ran the American State Department; I was responsible for leading an institution that has a couple of missions.

“It certainly has as an objective creating an American diplomatic set of arrangements that protect and secure America. But I also believe deeply that it had a responsibility to do two more things: one was to be disciplined, and the second was to speak the truth.

“The State Department’s not always done that. Discipline in the sense of rigor. You all know this, you live in this incredibly special place, this beautiful place, where you’re so disciplined in your faith in the same way that I pray the Lord will help me and Susan and my son Nick be disciplined in our Christian faith as well.

“The discipline that comes with bringing rigor to understanding the law and facts so that one can actually do the task of representing the United States of America.

And truth.

“Truth became pretty clear to those of us in the Trump Administration early on. The truth is, we were going to break some glass, when we talked about things in the way the world really ought to exist, and the way in fact that the reality on the ground does in fact exist; we know it. I had a great partner here – Ambassador Friedman. He was a bulldozer. He was a bulldozer for the truth.

“He did it with kindness, and gentleness, but no one would mistake it for timidity. We conspired to work, to make sure that we told the world the truth.

“The first truth that we told was that the rightful capital of this nation ought to be the place where we have our embassy.

“I’ll never forget the meetings. The meetings that said, “There will be war. This will create intifada. This creates enormous risk.

“And yet, President Trump was bold. He was prepared. We did the work, and we made the simply truthful statement and moved our embassy to the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland.

“I’ll never forget when we were discussing the reality on the ground of the Golan Heights – my wife and son will never forget the reality of the Golan Heights – this is worth a minute.

“Fifteen years ago almost exactly, I brought my son here. You would not have known my name, I was a civilian enjoying my life running a small manufacturing company in Kansas. But I wanted my son to know the truth; I wanted him to see it, and I had studied the ’67 war and the ’73 war when I was a student at West Point at the United States Military Academy.

“So, we traveled to the Golan Heights. And I made them stand in the positions where the tanks had been.

“It was a bit dusty. Thank you for accommodating me. I had my old maps – these maps matter. These maps matter. The real estate matters. The land matters.

“This is in fact the Jewish homeland and so when President Trump supported the efforts that Ambassador Friedman and I had put forward to say that ‘no, the Golan belongs to Israel,’ they said there would be war.

“They said there would be war, they said there would be war or worse and of course the truth was, there was no war.

“We made the decision about the reality, the rightful reality. And then I had the chance as we closed in on what became the end of our time in the administration to make maybe the most important statement.

“Yaakov said to me today, he said I harvested the first legal crop.

“This is the rightful homeland for the people of Israel here in Judea and Samaria. We recognized that this isn’t an occupying nation, it is not an apartheid country, it is a democracy where faiths can be practiced from all of the Abrahamic traditions – and in fact we were in church this morning in Jerusalem doing just that.

“It is so amazing to be back here. I will never forget my first trip here.

“My first trip here, there were protesters not to far from where we were standing. Perhaps some of them are back today.

“But what they are protesting is a falsehood. What they are protesting is a fantasy because we know the reality of this place, we know its history.

“You all work diligently every day to be good citizens of this place, to treat every human being with the dignity that they deserve because it is a fact that they are made in the image of our God.

“We want good things for all of these people, but we know too, we know the special history of Judea and Samaria. We know that in the end we cannot have a nation divided in Israel.

“The Lord will bring us this.

“I want to thank you all for coming out to be with me here today to this very unique, wonderful winery. I never dreamed I would have my name on a bottle of wine, and I thought, if it ever happened it would come from my grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, not from this historic, amazing, Biblically-centered place.

“Bless all of you for being with me today. Bless the work that you do here. May the Lord continue to watch over Judea and Samaria and all of Israel, and may God continue to bless each and everyone of you.

“May the Lord be with you. Thank you.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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