Pompeo makes unprecedented visits to Israeli-occupied West Bank and Golan Heights

Cheryl Sanders
November 21, 2020

For what will likely be his final visit as the top USA diplomat, he broke taboos and became the first secretary of state to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank - more precisely, the Psagot winery.

Pompeo has so far backed Trump in refusing to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden and it remains unclear how the Biden administration will manage the current United States relationship with Israel or if he will work to reverse some of its policies.

He took a further step on Thursday, announcing the United States would now consider exports from much of the West Bank as "Made in Israel".

"We want to stand with all other nations that recognise the BDS movement for the cancer that it is".

The UAE and Bahrain have said from the beginning that their decision to normalize ties was made on condition that Israel not apply Israeli law to areas of Judea and Samaria.

On Thursday morning, Pompeo appeared alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said both Pompeo and Trump were long-standing friends of Israel.

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

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.

Pompeo - who has so far backed Trump in refusing to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden - is on what could be his final Europe and Middle East tour in the post.

Last year, Canada voted in favor of a almost identical resolution, with its envoy justifying the move as a response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision to repudiate a State Department legal opinion that deemed Israeli settlements to be illegal.

The visits came a year after Pompeo broke with decades of USA foreign policy to announce that the United States under Trump no longer viewed Israel's settlements in the West Bank as "inconsistent with worldwide law".

Pompeo arrived at the Psagot winery, near the Israeli settlement of Psagot in the West Bank, according to a State Department official.

Senior Palestinian and Israeli officials today held their first high-profile meeting since the resumption of relations between the two sides after around six months of breakup and it was agreed that Israel would transfer Palestinian tax funds withheld since May.

"We will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic", he stated.

"It's quite ironic, really, that such a xenophobic, racist United States administration that is a partner in Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, and that is empowering white supremacists and anti-Semites ... would dare to smear a human rights movement led by Palestinians calling for justice for the entire Palestinian people", said BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti during an interview with Al Jazeera.

Other reports by iNewsToday