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May 6, 2020 11:52 am

Report: US Secretary of State Pompeo to Visit Israel Next Week Despite Corona Pandemic

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stand inside a sukkah in Jerusalem, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Photo: Sebastian Scheiner / Pool via Reuters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to fly to Israel next week for a one-day visit despite the coronavirus pandemic, Channel 13 reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, senior Israeli officials said Pompeo would meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, who are on the road to establishing a unity government.

If it happens, the visit will be Pompeo’s first overseas trip since the coronavirus crisis began two months ago.

A State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday that there were “no trips to announce right now.”

Pompeo himself told reporters, “I don’t have any travel to confirm, but I think in the upcoming hours and days you’ll see an announcement. We’re hoping to get back out and be on the ground to do the things the State Department needs to do — that we need to physically be located in those places for. We’re hoping we can get that started up before too long. It’ll start off smaller but we’re hoping to get back at it.”

The reason for Pompeo’s potential trip is unknown, but the issue of possible Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank has been in the news lately, with Pompeo himself saying last month that such a move was up to the Israeli government.

In an interview with Israel Hayom that was published on Wednesday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said the Trump administration prepared to recognize Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank should Israel decide to apply it.

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