Pompeo: Iran and Hamas Sense 'Weakness' In Biden Administration's Middle East Policy

A photograph shows rockets launched towards Israel from the northern Gaza Strip / Getty Images
Rockets launched toward Israel from the Gaza Strip / Getty Images
May 18, 2021

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran and Hamas sense "weakness" in the Biden administration’s approach to the Middle East, a perception that emboldened the terror group's aggression against Israel.

"These are ideologues who believe deeply in the extermination of the Jewish State," Pompeo said Tuesday at an event hosted by the Center for Security Policy. "When they think they have weakness in the United States, when they have a sense that the first thing out of the bag that’s going to get said isn't that Israel has every right to defend itself ... this is not something that concerns them and they are likely to do just the kind of violence that you are seeing today."

Pompeo’s remarks come as the Biden administration struggles to formulate a decisive response to continued rocket attacks from Hamas directed at Israel. The attacks have left at least 10 Israelis dead and plunged the country into a state of emergency. Though the White House has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict through "quiet" channels, Hamas has only intensified attacks on Israel. Monday marked the most violent day of the weeklong conflict, with more than 3,000 missiles fired from Gaza at Israel.

Pompeo said Palestinian officials rebuked every overture from the Trump administration to negotiate peace with Israel.

"The Palestinians had no interest in this whatsoever, it was no, no, no, to everything we proffered," Pompeo said of a peace agreement during the Trump administration. "They are benefiting from the corruption that takes place."

The former secretary of state also ripped news outlets for their coverage of the conflict, saying they have peddled a "very pro-Palestinian" message. The media have taken on a central role in the conflict. A building destroyed on Saturday by Israeli forces in Gaza housed Hamas alongside the Associated Press. The wire service—which has since launched an investigation—condemned the attack and expressed outrage over the decision to bomb the building. Israeli forces said they gave reporters advanced warning of the bombing and identified the building as a Hamas outpost.