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

21 Novembre, 2020, 13:32 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Settlement goods in US will be labelled 'made in Israel,' Mike Pompeo announces on Golan Heights tour

Pompeo also became the first secretary of state to tour the Golan Heights, whose annexation by Israel from Syria was recognised by Trump.

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".

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And in 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that "foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by an indication of that provenance", so the new measure effectively puts the United States at odds with the European Union.

Palestinians criticized Pompeo, saying the U.S. was helping Israel to cement its control over West Bank lands.

The Syrian government slammed Pompeo's visit to Golan as a "provocative step before the end of the Trump administration's team".

The State Department announced on November 19 that it is classifying the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic and will be taking measures to block funding from organizations that support BDS.

"We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw USA government support for such groups", Pompeo said in a joint appearance with Netanyahu. The US under Trump has recognized it as part of Israel. However, Israel sees the movement as a threat to its state that seeks to strategically damage its security and economy.

Activists strongly deny the charge, comparing the embargo to the economic isolation that helped bring down apartheid in South Africa.

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Turkey complained about Pompeo's visit, saying the United States should address racism and other issues at home, and has already congratulated Biden, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bracing for a tougher relationship with the Democrat who has vowed to empower Turkey's opposition.

Pompeo made this announcement during a visit to the Israeli settlement of Psagot in the West Bank, reportedly "marking the first time a sitting Secretary of State has travelled to an Israeli settlement".

When Pompeo resurfaced on Monday, he paid the quick visit to the memorial before meetings with France's President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that were closed to the press.

Winemaker Yaakov Berg, creator of the "Pompeo" wine, told AFP that Mr Pompeo's support will ensure he is remembered by Jews "100 years from now".

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

Palestinians oppose settlements on land they claim for a future independent state. There, he announced new United States guidelines requiring all USA exports from Israeli controlled areas of the West Bank to be labeled as "made in Israel", in a reversal of decades-old policy that differentiated between both sides of the Green Line.

Area C also includes the strategic Jordan Valley and many Palestinian communities, areas that Israel considers to be disputed.

Pompeo and Netanyahu stood by the previous day when Bahrain's foreign minister called for fresh Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Areas of the West Bank under Palestinian control will be labeled as being from the "West Bank".

That decision effectively means that, at least through Mr Trump's remaining days in office, the U.S. will not recognise exports as coming from the Palestinian Territories.

The decision on labelling "blatantly violates worldwide law", said Nabil Abu Rudeinah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, dismissing it as another biased move by Mr Trump's administration.

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