Remarks by Secretary of State Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Excerpts)

March 20, 2019

Michael R. Pompeo 
Secretary of State
Prime Minister's Office


PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I know you’ve been an extraordinary champion of the U.S.-Israel alliance, and I want to thank you and President Trump for everything that you’ve been doing to support this partnership which I think is exceptional.

First of all, I think it’s supported by the broad swath of the American people. We appreciate that, the fact that we have a broad base of support in the United States, but we also know that our alliance in recent years has never been stronger. It’s an unbreakable bond that’s based on shared values of liberty and democracy and shared interest to fight the enemies of democracy, the enemies of our way of life, the terrorists that plague – that prowl our airspace and prowl our countries. And I think that working together, we’ve been able to achieve an enormous amount.

Under President Trump, that alliance has also brought a historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem. David doesn’t have to travel up a – the traffic jams from Tel Aviv, which we’re trying to un-loose – loosen up anyway. But I think also the unequivocal commitment to Israel’s security, the support that you give us in international forums, all of that is deeply appreciated.

I think that no less historic is the President’s decision to walk away from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. He said he would do it; he did. And he said that he would reimpose tough sanctions on Iran, and he did. And what we see is that this pressure is working. We need to increase it; we need to expand it. And together, the United States and Israel are working in close coordination to roll back Iranian aggression in the region and around the world. Secretary and I just spent the first part of our meetings discussing exactly how to do that, and I think there are ways that will intensify the pressure even more. Rolling back Iran is in the interest of peace and security and stability for Israel, for our neighbors, and for the world.

I also appreciate the fact that the United States gives Israel the full backing to defend ourselves against Iranian aggression. I want to use this opportunity and say that we will continue to take action as needed against the attempts of Iran to entrench itself militarily with dangerous weapons in Syria. There is no limitation to our freedom of action, and we appreciate very much the fact that the United States backs up our actions as we do them.

Just last week, we uncovered efforts by Hizballah, an Iranian proxy, to build a terror network in Syria on the Golan Heights. And I can say that all of you can imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan. We would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. I think – for this reason, and for many more – I think it’s time that the international community recognize Israel’s stay in the Golan, the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the state of Israel.

Mr. Secretary, you’re a stalwart defender of the truth, and I appreciate your important statement last week regarding the International Criminal Court. We share the concern of the U.S. and many other states that this court has lost its way. Instead of dealing with mass atrocities, the court engages in unwarranted and politicized efforts to target the states that are committed to the rule of law and that have not joined the court. It’s exact opposite of what it should be doing. And therefore, the fact that you spoke out against this, I think, is – against this, I think, is of stellar importance. I thank the United States for taking the moral and necessary steps to protect the citizens of both our countries against this outrageous distortion of international law.

Israel has no greater friend than the United States, and the United States has no greater friend than Israel. I look forward to our discussions, and I look forward to my visit next week to Washington, where I will meet with President Trump. And I believe that we can carry this relationship even stronger – it’s getting stronger and stronger and stronger, and may we continue to do so. Thank you.


Read the full set of remarks at the U.S. Department of State.