Palestinians outraged as Pompeo visits illegal Israeli settlement

An Israeli air force Blackhawk helicopter carrying US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hovers in the settlers industrial park of Sha’ar Binyamin near the Israeli Psagot settlement in the occupied West Bank north of Jerusalem

There, he announced new U.S. guidelines requiring all U.S. 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.

That enterprise had already rolled out a Pompeo wine label after he contested the global consensus that Israeli construction on occupied Palestinian land is illegal.

Trump delighted Israel in 2019 by recognizing Israel's claim to sovereignty over the area of the Golan Heights that it captured from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in 1981.

What did Pompeo say about the movement to boycott Israel?

"We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups", Pompeo said in a joint appearance with Netanyahu.

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.

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?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: You can't stand here and stare out at what's across the border and deny the central thing that President Trump recognized that previous presidents had refused to do, that this is a part of Israel, and a central part of Israel.

Pompeo also noted that products made on the territories administered by the Palestinian Authority will be recognised as products of the "West Bank", and goods made in Gaza will have a different label, since the new policy "recognises that the territories are separately administered by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip", as the media outlet puts it.

Pompeo also became the first U.S. top diplomat to visit a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.

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

Dozens of Palestinians have demonstrated near the winery, and some threw stones at soldiers guarding the entrance to the settlers' industrial zone yesterday.

Israeli planning and building of settlements in the Palestinian territories has boomed under successive Netanyahu governments and especially since Trump took office in 2017.

Mr Pompeo's announcement seemed to imply that even Palestinian exports from Area C should be tagged as Israeli products, as should the wine he sampled at Psagot. Pompeo said on Thursday that the recognition was "historically important and simply a recognition of the reality".

PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said the security ties with Israel were renewed after the PA requested and received a letter saying that Jerusalem was "committed to the agreements signed with the Palestinian leadership".



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