Pompeo: Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself, Hope Cease-fire Will Be Restored

U.S. secretary of state says situation 'looks pretty serious' as rockets pound Israel and the Israeli military continues to carry out retaliatory attacks in Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a discussion on the major foreign policy priorities of the State Department in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2019.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the Trump administration supports Israel in its fight against Hamas and that he hopes a cease-fire between the two parties can be restored soon, as rockets from Gaza pounded Israel and Israel struck targets in Gaza.

Pompeo was asked about the situation during an interview with Fox News and said that it “looks pretty serious,” citing the high number of rockets fired into Israel since Saturday. 

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“The Israelis have every right to defend themselves,” Pompeo added. “I’ve seen video that we can’t validate just yet but where there have been strikes on homes, civilian populations. These rockets were fired with civilians around them in order to protect from return fire. This is terrible.”

Pompeo also added: “I hope that we can return to the ceasefire that had been in place for weeks and had been holding significantly before this.”

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The cease-fire he referred to was reached a few weeks before Israel’s April 9 election, and it entailed an Israeli promise to allow Qatar to transfer millions of dollars to Hamas in return for a commitment by Hamas not fire rockets. A large amount of the money was not transferred to Gaza by the Qataris, leading to the current deadly escalation.