Reported presidential hopeful Mike Pompeo, the former U.S. secretary of state and former CIA director, referred to Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, as a “terrorist” during a podcast interview released on Thursday.

The journalist Julia Macfarlane and former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove asked Pompeo several questions about Israel on their podcast, “One Decision.”

Pompeo said that the Abraham Accords has made life safer for Americans and that the U.S. Marines are now less likely to be killed in conflict zones. “We fundamentally took down risk for the United States of America as a result of the Abraham Accords,” he said.

Macfarlane pressed Pompeo several times to comment on recent decisions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Look, I try to stay out of domestic politics, but when any country gets a policy that is inconsistent with something that is good for my country, we’re going to say, ‘Hey. Here is what we think. Here is what we would prefer you do,’ ” said Pompeo. 

“But if you look at the list of troubles we have in the Middle East, let me tell you, that doesn’t make the hit parade,” he added. “Let’s start with the fact that the Iranians continue to hold people with U.S. passports and British passports. Let’s start with the fact that today the Iranians are trying to kill Americans here at home, including former U.S. senior government officials.”

Pompeo insisted Israel is a democratic state, rather than an occupying nation. “This land, as an evangelical Christian, I am convinced from my reading of the Bible that 3,000 years on now, in spite of the denial of so many, is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people,” he said. “We should support Israel in its efforts.”

Around the 29:45 minute mark, he addressed Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader also known as “Abu Mazen.”

“Our theory of the case was this. What’s in America’s best interest? Is it to sit and wait for Abu Mazen, a known terrorist who has killed lots and lots of people, including Americans and given those martyrs money for having done so, to try to wait around for Abu Mazen to draw a line on a map—that’s just, that’s what the State Department would do,” said Pompeo.

“The previous secretary of state ran back and forth from Tel Aviv to Ramallah and tried to draw lines on a map. We said, ‘That’s just. That’s not in America’s best interests. Let’s go create peace,’ and we did,” he added. “We want good things for everyone, including those folks that live in Judea and Samaria.”

What did he think of a two-state solution? Pompeo hedged, so Macfarlane asked again. “I’m for an outcome that guarantees Israeli security and makes the life better for everyone in the region,” said Pompeo. 

“Is that possible to achieve in a two-state solution?” she asked.

“Only time and history, and the Lord, will know the answer to that,” replied Pompeo.


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