Pompeo planning trip to Israel

Pompeo planning trip to Israel
© Greg Nash

Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE is reportedly planning a trip to Israel later this week, Politico reports.

Sources familiar with Pompeo’s plans told Politico that he may be in Israel at the same time as current Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenTaliban push closer to front lines of two major Afghanistan cities US blames Iran for attack on oil tanker off Oman Biden ramps up pressure on Iran as it grapples with protests MORE, who is scheduled to travel to the Middle East throughout this week to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials. Politico reports that Pompeo informed Blinken of his tentative plans.

One source told the outlet that Pompeo would be traveling as a private citizen in order to celebrate the retirement of Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, though his plans have reportedly not been finalized due to Israel’s COVID-19 protocols.

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While in Israel, the former secretary of State may also meet with nongovernmental officials.

Since leaving the White House, Pompeo has joined the conservative Hudson Institute think tank and was hired by Fox News as a contributor. Rumors have grown that Pompeo may be considering a run for the presidency in 2024, which could place him against former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE if he decides to again run again.

Politico notes that Pompeo visited Israel in 2020 shortly after the presidential election was called for President BidenJoe BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE. While there, he visited the West Bank, an area that some international observers consider to be illegally occupied by Israel.

Pompeo recently commented on the fighting between Israel and Hamas that erupted earlier this month, telling Fox News, “The Israelis are simply trying to defend themselves.”

“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu is trying to defend Arabs and Jews and Christians and Muslims alike and he’s trying to make sure he doesn’t kill civilians,” Pompeo said. “Israel has every right to do all that it needs to not only defend itself against the current rocket attacks but to make sure that that kind of attack can never happen again.”

More than 200 Palestinians and 12 Israelis have been killed in the fighting.