Published: Sat, November 21, 2020

Pompeo's 'unprecedented' trip to the occupied West Bank

Pompeo's 'unprecedented' trip to the occupied West Bank

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman (L) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd L) during a visit to the Psagot Winery in the West Bank, on November 19, 2020.

Netanyahu, who has congratulated Biden, thanked Pompeo for his "unwavering support" of Israel, first as Central Intelligence Agency director and then secretary of state, while claiming that under Trump the US-Israeli relationship "reached unprecedented heights".

The Simon Wiesenthal Center also tweeted that Pompeo "dealt [a] blow to BDSers #UN and #EU by declaring United States will label products from West Bank as made in #Israel!" The US under Trump has recognized it as part of Israel.

But with Pompeo's newly announced rules, which he said were "consistent with our reality-based foreign policy approach", all producers within areas where Israel exercises authority - most notably Area C under the Oslo Accords - will be required to mark goods as "Israel, ' 'Product of Israel, ' or 'Made in Israel" when exporting to the United States.

The resolution emphasized "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine" and "stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides", based on a two-state solution.

"Imagine with [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad in control of this place, the risk of the harm to the West and to Israel", Mr Pompeo said.

In a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Pompeo called the BDS movement a "cancer" and reiterated the Trump administration's commitment to fighting the movement.

Secretary Pompeo said the US sides with Israel over the matter and is going to crackdown on the practice.

Mr Pompeo also said Washington would designate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as "anti-Semitic", which calls for a wide-ranging embargo against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and has long accused it of anti-Semitism, and a law passed in 2017 allows it to ban foreigners with links to the movement.

Condemning Mr Pompeo's announcement, Human Rights Watch said: "The Trump administration has no business trying to tar groups because they back boycotts", which it said had been used to advance social justice throughout American history.

What's Donald Trump's top diplomat to do when allies have turned the page and are waiting for Joe Biden but the president refuses to concede?

As you just said, he visited a settlement in the occupied West Bank with a winery that past year named a vintage after him.

On the way there, Mr Pompeo stopped at Qasr el-Yahud, revered as the site of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan Valley.

Trump's outgoing administration has made isolating arch foe Iran a centrepiece of its regional policy.

But Palestinians and much of the world regard those settlements as illegal under global law.

"Pompeo is intoxicated by apartheid wine stolen from Palestinian land".

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