Dec 23, 2018 - World

Netanyahu will meet Pompeo next week to discuss the Syria pullout

Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week in Brazil to discuss President Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, Israeli officials told me. They'll both be there for Jair Bolsonaro's inauguration.

Why it matters: Israel is very concerned the U.S. withdrawal will encourage Iran to continue its attempt of building military presence in Syria. Netanyahu spoke twice to Trump last week about his Syria decision, but this will be the first high level meeting between Israeli and U.S. officials since Trump announced the pullout.

Between the lines: Netanyahu said today during the weekly cabinet meeting that Trump's decision will not change the Israeli policy of acting militarily against the Iranian presence in Syria.

  • Netanyahu rejected the claims that Trump's decision was a signal he was not taking Israel's security concerns into account and said the cooperation with the U.S. continues as it has been before.

The bottom line: The IDF chief of staff major general Gadi Eizenkot said in a speech today that Trump decision is "a major development" but cautioned from "overestimating its consequences" regarding Israel. He added the IDF will continue to operate against Iranian threats in Syria.

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