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Mike Pompeo Expresses Support for Israeli Response to Gaza Protests

Mr. Safadi said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key to peace and stability in the Middle East, a long-held view by many in the region. Jordan is a crucial American ally — Mr. Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex W. Tillerson, signed an agreement in February that guarantees Jordan nearly $1.3 billion in annual assistance for the next five years, recognizing the country’s role in fighting extremism and taking in Syrian refugees — but on this issue, Mr. Pompeo did not entirely agree.

Mr. Pompeo called the conflict “important,” but he added, “So, precisely how to rank it among all the various challenges, I’ll defer on that. I know that it is an incredible priority for the United States to provide whatever assistance we can to allow the two parties to come to a resolution to this incredibly longstanding and important conflict.”

Protesters in Gaza have massed along the border with Israel for five straight Fridays, part of a series of demonstrations intended to draw attention to the situation for Palestinians, leading up to a final demonstration on May 15, when perhaps tens of thousands of people might rush the fortified barrier with Israel.

Mike Pompeo Expresses Support for Israeli Response to Gaza Protests
Mike Pompeo Expresses Support for Israeli Response to Gaza Protests

Initially advertised by Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, as peaceful protests, they have been marked by the use of Molotov cocktails and firebombs by Palestinians and deadly force on the part of Israel.

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In the most recent demonstrations, on Friday, at least four people were killed and more than 1,000 others were wounded when Israeli troops fired on protesters who tried to crash through a security barrier and cross into Israel.

Mr. Pompeo’s principal message at every stop on the trip has been that Iran, which supports President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, is involved in “malign activities” in the region.

During his confirmation hearings, Mr. Pompeo said that he wanted to preserve the Iranian nuclear accord, which was signed in 2015 and restricts Tehran’s ability to engage in the activities necessary to make nuclear weapons.

As the days have worn on, however, his comments about the nuclear deal have become increasingly critical. President Trump is widely expected to withdraw the United States from the accord on May 12, although he has coyly refused to preview his decision.

The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded to Mr. Pompeo on Monday, castigating the United States and accusing the Americans of trying to pit Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region against Tehran.

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