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Pompeo visits Israel to discuss West Bank annexation

Jerusalem: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel on May 13 to discuss the country’s plans to annex large segments of Palestinian territories, which is set to begin in July.

The visit comes amid the coronavirus pandemic and will also see discussion on political tensions with Iran.

Pompeo arrived with a small entourage and stepped off the plane sporting a face mask with the American flag, Efe news reported.

He traveled to Jerusalem to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz, both of whom are set to form a unity government after three inconclusive elections.

Israel’s state department said the visit was to discuss US and Israeli efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as regional security issues related to Iran’s malign influence.

“We will get the chance to talk about the Vision of Peace, we are now some months from the day that you came to Washington when President Trump announced that Vision of Peace when you were there,” Pompeo said at a joint presser with Netanyahu shortly after landing.

The so-called Vision of Peace is a roadmap for the region designed by the White House which accounts for Israel’s primary requests, including US-backed plans to annex areas of the West Bank, but is rejected by the Palestinians.

Pompeo’s short visit is the first by a foreign politician to Israel since the country closed its borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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