US urges political engagement in Gaza, defends Israel's right to defend itself


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint press conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv on April 29, 2018.

JORDAN - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has visited the Middle East on his first trip abroad since assuming the position.

He&39;s urging Palestine and Israel to resume political engagement, following recent violence along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Palestine has rejected US peace-making efforts since President Donald Trump&39;s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The US will move its embassy to the city.

But the Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their own state.

According to Pompeo: "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 of this incredibly longstanding and important conflict. Your first question about the activities in Gaza over the past days and weeks, we do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that."