WATCH: Pompeo becomes first top US diplomat to visit Golan Heights
Golan Heights, Undefined - Mike Pompeo on Thursday became the first US secretary of state to visit the occupied Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War.
Pompeo toured parts of the disputed territory on Israel's border with Syria under heavy security with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
"You can't stand here and stare out at what's across the border and deny the central thing that President Donald Trump recognised, what the previous presidents have refused to do," Pompeo said, referring to Trump's controversial decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty in the area last year.
"This is a part of Israel," Pompeo said.
He condemned what he described as calls from "the salons in Europe and in the elite institutions in America," for Israel to return the Golan to Syria, which were seized in the Six Day War.
"Imagine with (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad in control of this place, the risk of the harm to the West and to Israel," Pompeo said.
Ashkenazi praised Pompeo for recognising "the strategic importance of the Golan Heights," saying that because Pompeo has served as head of the Central Intelligence Agency "he knows the facts."