Report: Pence Slated to Make Israel Visit Ahead of Biden Inauguration
i24 News – United States Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien are expected to arrive in Israel within the coming weeks, according to multiple sources and cited in The Jerusalem Post.
O’Brien is likely to arrive first, with reports that he will be in Israel next week, while Pence is likely to arrive early in the new year, before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
These high-profile visitors follow Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s whistlestop tour of several nations in the Middle East, including Israel. His arrival was significant as it heralded a shift in certain long-standing US policy positions — most notably allowing Israeli products made in the West Bank to be labeled “Made in Israel.”
Some commentators speculated that as the Trump administration likely wound down, it would seek to upset the incoming Biden administration with a raft of pro-Israel policies.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper denied that was the case as well as remarking that the alliance with Israel was a bipartisan issue.
Pompeo’s visit was also seen as a telegraph of his intentions with a view to a possible tilt at the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election — which may also apply to Pence.
Pompeo and Pence have been staunch supporters of Israel and much Israeli policy. There is, however, some alarm in the Prime Minister’s Office about the incoming administration particularly due to Biden’s determination to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and appoint many former Obama administration figures who were instrumental in its passage.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unambiguous about his opposition to a return to the deal saying that it “paved the way” for Iran to launch proxy wars throughout the Middle East and develop nuclear weapons — with planeloads of hard currency that the Obama administration flew to Iran in its dying days.