US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Friends of Zion Museum on Friday, his last day of an official visit to Israel. The museum honours Christian Zionists of Israel, founded by Mike Evans, a prominent former advisor of the Trump administration. Christian Zionism is a belief that claims that Jews got their homeland in 1948 following a biblical prophecy.
During the visit, Pompeo did not address any public gathering and chose to leave mid-day. Significantly, the diplomat’s visit came a day after he became the first foreign secretary to visit the Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The Israeli government has been settling its citizens there ever since it annexed the territory along with East Jerusalem in 1967 from Palestine. Israel seized Golan Heights from Syria in the same war and later annexed it.
The Trump administration had broken the traditional American policy of opposing settlement in the disputed land of West Bank and East Jerusalem. The US also became the first country to recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel last year. It had earlier recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Former US president Donald Trump himself witnessed the shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem during his term in office. The move has received huge backlash from several Middle-Eastern and European countries.
Reactions from Arab nations are still awaited on these latest developments. However, experts believe that this could backfire against America. US president-elect Joe Biden has opposed the settlement and has hinted at taking a tougher stand. It remains to be seen if the new Democratic administration will overturn the controversial decision of the former Trump-led Republican government.