The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to land in Israel on Wednesday. His visit coincides with the swearing-in of a new Israeli government, breaking the country’s year-long political deadlock. The COVID-19 pandemic and moves towards annexing parts of the West Bank are likely to dominate Mr. Pompeo’s discussions with both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Yet also likely to be on the agenda is the thorny issue of US-China tensions and Israel’s position in relation to them.
The US is Israel’s closest strategic ally. The two countries share democratic values and a belief in free and fair trade within a rules-based international order. In the Middle East – Israel’s backyard – Jerusalem and Washington see eye to eye on many strategic and security issues. When it comes to dealing with China, however, the picture is less clear.