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Pence Heads to Israel for Meetings on Gaza War

Mike Pence Speaking - Israel
Thought Leader: Mike Pence
January 2, 2024
Source: Free Beacon

Former vice president Mike Pence is heading to Israel on Wednesday to meet with the Jewish state’s leadership and survey the country’s war effort against the Iran-backed Hamas terror group, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Pence will take off Wednesday and spend about a week touring war sites in Israel’s southern territory, as well as its northern border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah militants—also backed by Iran—have been increasing their cross-border attacks and threatening to open up a new front in the war.

The former vice president’s trips will likely overlap with an upcoming visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, though it is expected the two statesmen will carry different messages to the Israeli government. The Biden administration’s top diplomat has been leaning on Israel to quickly end the war and pump aid into the embattled Gaza Strip, even though aid dollars are known to be stolen by Hamas. Pence, on the other hand, will carry a message of U.S. solidarity with Israel’s military, which is working to eradicate Hamas and secure the Jewish state’s borders.

“Now more than ever the United States must show our support for our most cherished ally, Israel, and we must continue to stand by them as they wage war on Hamas after the brutal terrorist attack on the Israeli people,” Pence told the Free Beacon ahead of the trip. “As long as I have a voice I’ll use it call on America to continue to be the leader of the free world, to stand with our allies against the dark regimes of our time, and make it clear that the American people will stand with the people of Israel today, tomorrow, and every day as they do what needs to be done to hunt down and destroy Hamas, once and for all.”

During his stay in the region, Pence will meet with members of the Israel Defense Forces along Israel’s southern border with Gaza, where he will also tour the areas hardest hit by Hamas during its Oct. 7 raid. That attack saw members of the terror group rape, torture, and kill women and children and left more than 1,200 Israelis dead.

Pence will also survey Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. There he will receive updates about Hezbollah’s strikes on Israeli territory, which Israel has met with retaliatory action.

The former vice president, who in October dropped his bid to become the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, will also meet with the families of hostages still being held by Hamas. Other stops will include Israeli medical centers and meetings with first responders, according to sources familiar with the schedule.

Pence will also hold meetings with senior Israeli officials, though details are being withheld until Pence lands in the Jewish state.

Pence has been a vocal defender of Israel’s Gaza operation since the Jewish state first launched it last year and has pressured the Biden administration to give Israel the support it needs to finish eradicating Hamas for good.

Advancing American Freedom, an advocacy group helmed by Pence, has issued statements in support of Israel and pressed the Biden administration to redesignate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terror group.

The Iran-backed militant Houthis have launched multiple missile strikes on U.S. and Israeli forces in the months since war broke out in the region. The Trump administration had designated the Houthi as a terror outfit, leveling increased sanctions on the group, but President Joe Biden overturned that designation and has thus far declined to add the group back onto the U.S. terror lists.

Blinken, meanwhile, is expected next week to make his fourth trip to the Middle East, where he will push Israel to bring the war to a close. The secretary of state in his 2023 end-of-year press conference listed ending the war as a top priority, saying that “it’s clear that this conflict needs to move—will move—to a lower intensity phase.”

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