JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Israel on Monday on a solidarity mission.
He landed just as the news was breaking that Israeli special forces had successfully completed a daring and complex operation to rescue two Israeli hostages and kill all of their Hamas captors in Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip.
President Joe Biden has publicly warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to send the military into Rafah.
Biden, who has blasted IDF operations against Hamas in Gaza as “over the top,” says he fears large numbers of Palestinian civilians will be killed by IDF carelessness.
But Netanyahu has pushed back, explaining that four Hamas terrorist brigades are operating in Rafah.
The IDF cannot achieve victory if those Hamas forces remain standing, Netanyahu insists.
Thus, Netanyahu defied Biden’s warning and ordered the operation anyway.
On Monday, Netanyahu hailed its success as “one of the greatest rescues in Israeli history.”
Pompeo also immediately praised the operation.
“Outstanding news that Israel rescued two hostages from Hamas terrorists,” Pompeo wrote on 𝕏, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
“It’s a reminder that the best way to free the hostages and win this war is to keep the pressure on Hamas.”
Few American officials have proven themselves more pro-Israel over the years than Pompeo, who previously served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as a member of Congress, serving on the House Intelligence Committee.
During the Trump-Pence administration, Pompeo played a critical role in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Pompeo also advised Trump to recognize the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory and to reject the notion that Judea and Samaria – internationally known as the West Bank – is “occupied territory” but rather part of Israel’s biblical heritage and “disputed territory.”
Trump accepted Pompeo’s advice on both issues.
What’s more, Pompeo played a key role in helping Trump and Netanyahu broker four Arab-Israeli peace and normalization agreements that became known as the “Abraham Accords.”
Pompeo is expected to meet with senior Israeli officials and military commanders this week to receive high-level briefings on the status of the war not only in Gaza but also with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Soon after October 7, I reached out to Pompeo – a friend for nearly a decade – to invite him to come join us on a solidarity mission.
He immediately said yes but other obligations prevented him from coming before now.
Knesset Member Danny Danon, who previously served as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, helped organize the visit.
Danon met Pompeo at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv upon his arrival.
“Today, my friend, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Israel,” Danon said in a statement sent to ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
“I was honored to meet him upon his arrival as he embarks on a solidarity visit in support of Israel, where he will meet with residents of the south, hostage families and our IDF soldiers.”
“During our discussion, I conveyed Israel's unwavering commitment to achieving a decisive victory in Gaza. I emphasized that we will persist until Hamas is eradicated, in the north and south of the Gaza Strip, including in Khan Younis and Rafah.”
“It is crucial to recognize that Israel cannot emerge victorious with one hand tied behind its back. We seek the support of the United States on all fronts, especially as we confront an enemy who is not only attacking Israel but also posing a perilous threat to the entire world."
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.