Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is one of the few Americans who understands what it takes to bring about a warm peace in the Middle East, and specifically between Arab states and Israel. In his recent book “Never Give an Inch,” he describes how when given wide berth to work with the Israelis, he sought to reverse the insulting ways President Obama treated Israel. He was one of the people involved in bringing about the Abraham Accords and is among those who recognized the old paradigm of waiting for the Palestinians to come to the negotiation table is wrong. The likelihood of Mahmoud Abbas making compromises for peace would have to wait for the ‘coming of the Messiah.’ In the meantime, Pompeo must have noticed that in the quiet rooms, the wise leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain understood clearly that their interests override the all- familiar and well-established Palestinian veto power toward any rapprochement with Israel. Clearly, the likes of Pompeo’s predecessor, Obama’s second term Secretary of State John Kerry, never understood. Kerry made endless shuttles between Ramallah and Jerusalem. For Kerry, the peace “process” between Israelis and Palestinians seemed to have more value than real peace. It was a waste of American tax-payer money, his shuttle diplomacy was a dismal failure. Abbas was never ready to make compromises for peace even if his people would be the beneficiaries of such a peace.
The historic Abraham Accords deserved far more Nobel Prize recognition for President Donald Trump and his team than the travesty of giving the Nobel Prize to Barack Hussein Obama for doing absolutely nothing to earn it. Were it not for the political correctness of the Scandinavian guilt-ridden Nobel Prize committee, such an award granted to one of the least accomplished US presidents at the very beginning of his first term in office, would have never happened. And were it not for the leftist orientation of the Nobel Peace Committee, Trump should have been given the award and the honor by right of accomplishment. The Swedes and the Norwegians disgraced themselves and the Nobel Prize by serving as an example of political bias, rather than awarding merit.
In “Never Give an Inch,” Pompeo pointed out that the Trump administration came “breathtakingly close to having a major Asian nation” sign on to the Abraham Accords. Pompeo was referring to some of the largest Muslim majority nations such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Pompeo stated that “Permanent peace with the Jewish homeland is in the interest of each of these nations.” Furthermore, Pompeo intimates that had the Trump administration won reelection, Saudi Arabia would have also joined the Abraham Accords.
The Obama administration treated Israel with a degree of disrespect unprecedented for US presidential administrations. Pompeo wrote: “Never before had an American commander in chief demonstrated, unequivocally, that he was unwilling to support the Zionist project and our best friend in the Middle East. Obama’s UN ambassador, Samantha Power, and national security advisor, Susan Rice, were also at the center of the (Obama) administration’s loathing of Israel. They neglected to choose the right ally (“Never Give an Inch” page 316).” The Obama administration chose instead to buddy up with Iran. Obama ignored Israel’s dilemma over the Iran Nuclear Deal. For Israel, it meant having to live with the deal that gave the Ayatollahs the wherewithal to ultimately destroy Israel, as Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and others threatened to do, or alternatively take preemptive action that might trigger WWIII.
The Obama administration managed to create moral equivalency between the Iran-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and Israeli civilians victimized by Hamas’ unprovoked firing of rockets. Obama’s Drug Enforcement Administration killed the probe on Iran’s proxy in Lebanon-Hezbollah. To seal the deal with Iran, the Obama administration ignored Hezbollah’s drug-smuggling activities in the US. The revenue from the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah’s illicit drug smuggling helped fund the buildup of over 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel.
In the final days of the Obama administration, to reaffirm its anti-Israel sentiments, Obama ordered his UN ambassador not to veto a UN Security Council Resolution stipulating that all Israeli settlements were illegal. It was the first time in about forty years that the US refused to stop such a reckless resolution, that specified among other things that Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site is “occupied territory.” It was Obama’s revenge against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserting Israel’s concerns regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, in a speech at the joint session of the US Congress. The UNSC resolution demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the so-called Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem.”
Significantly, more than a generation earlier, Professor Eugene Rostow, Dean of the Yale Law School and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Lyndon Johnson administration who was involved in the drafting of the UN Security Council Resolution 242, in a New York Times opinion piece, concluded that “Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank is part of the British Mandate in Palestine which included Israel and Jordan as well as certain other territories not yet generally recognized as belonging to either country. While Jewish settlement east of the Jordan River was suspended in 1922, such settlements remained legal in the West Bank.”
Pompeo, unlike the previous administrations, declared at the 2019 AIPAC conference that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” He also reversed the longstanding State Department opinion that the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria were a violation of international law. The Trump administration also defined the BDS Movement as antisemitic. Products from the Judea and Samaria settlements sanctioned by the previous administration were reversed by the Trump administration and labeled “Made in Israel.” Best of all, the Trump administration, and Mike Pompeo in particular, recognized Israel’s rights to Judea and Samaria as well as to the Golan Heights. And the crowning act of the Trump/Pence/Pompeo administration was moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel’s eternal capital.
Mike Pompeo understands the conditions that will bring the next Arab/Muslim state to make peace with the Jewish state. He listed four such conditions: “First is to acknowledge the right for Israel, in all of its rightful land, to exist as the eternal homeland of the Jewish people. Second, it will take American leadership. Without American support, it is nearly impossible to imagine a Muslim nation’s leader making such a decision. Third, the world will have to see that the US is locked at the hip with Israel. Without that perception, Muslim nations will think that, perhaps, one day, the US will move closer to them than to Israel. Fourth, America must be prepared to defend a would-be Abraham Accords member from the real threat posed by the Iranian regime.”
Pompeo’s sincere love for Israel and his realistic view of the Middle East deserves attention. “Never Give an Inch” isn’t only a worthwhile read, it is an eye-opener.