mike pompeo israel
© Binyamin Regional CouncilMike Pompeo speaks at the Psagot Winery
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo called Israel 'a democracy where faiths can be practiced' during a visit to the Psagot winery.

Israel is not an apartheid state and it does not "occupy" the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Sunday during a special visit to the Psagot winery in the West Bank.

"This is the rightful homeland for the people of Israel here in Judea and Samaria," Pompeo said.

"We recognized that this is not an occupied nation, this is not an apartheid country. It is a democracy where faiths can be practiced from all of the Abrahamic traditions," Pompeo said.

The former top US diplomat stood on the hilltop winery outside of Jerusalem, where, just 11 months earlier, he announced a historic change in US policy that allowed for settler products produced in the West Bank to be labeled "Made in Israel."

He was the first US secretary of state and the most high-level US official to visit an Israeli-held entity in the West Bank, in this case, the Sha'ar Binyamin Industrial Zone.

It followed an announcement Pompeo had already made in Washington. He said that former US president Donald Trump's administration recognized Israel's historic, religious and legal rights to the West Bank and believed that Israeli settlements were not inconsistent with international law.

Pompeo was most associated with those policy changes, which have been loosely referred to as the "Pompeo Doctrine."

Pompeo's visit coincided with that of outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about her opposition to West Bank settlements. During her two-day trip she has no plans to meet with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
netanyahu pompeo meeting
Zionist buddies Pompeo and Netanyahu
In Psagot, Pompeo recalled for the festive gathering that included Netanyahu and settler leaders, the dramatic policy changes the former Trump administration had with respect to Israelis ties to areas of the country over pre-1967 lines.

It was obvious early on that the Trump administration "was going to break some glass," Pompeo said.

This included recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the relocation of the embassy there and its recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights.

Pompeo - whose support of Israel is deeply connected to his Christian faith - said he had already studied about Israel's battles for the Golan Heights in 1967 and 1973 when he was a student at the American military academy of West Point.

Before he entered politics and was a businessman in Kansas, he traveled to the Golan Heights with his family so they could stand on those battlegrounds.

But he felt that perhaps the statement that "Israel was not an occupier in Judea and Samaria" was perhaps his most important statement as secretary of state.

He recalled that at the time the Psagot winery created a special limited edition with his name on it. "I never imagined that I would have a wine named after me," Pompeo said.

Netanyahu said that Israel had resurrected its history and homeland in a way that was a parable for humanity and provided universal hope in a way that had made a tremendous impression on the leaders of the US for a century.

But Israel's deep biblical connection to its land has been obscured with lies that characterize the Jewish people as colonialists and conquerors, Netanyahu explained.

"This is our land," Netanyahu said, restating the line.

"We have regained the high ground and we shall keep it," Netanyahu said, adding that he meant both the "physical and the moral high ground."

In this pursuit, the US has "no better ally than the United States," said Netanyahu, who is both the head of the Likud Party and the opposition in the Knesset.

"In the United States we have no better ally than Mike Pompeo and some of his friends and we remember our friends," Netanyahu said as he thanked the former secretary of state for his work on Israel's behalf.

Addressing Pompeo directly, he said, "you are part of our mishpacha (family)."

Former US ambassador David Friedman, who had been present at the event only briefly, was recognized in absentia for his efforts on Israel's behalf.Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni highlighted Pompeo's deep faith, explaining that "you brought the voice of God into American policy."

Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz pledged that there would never be a Palestinian state.

Ganz told Pompeo that the Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria thanked him for saying that "this holy land belongs to our nation," adding "you are doing what God wanted you to do."