Reported on November 21 that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first U.S. diplomat to visit the Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on the 19th. At the same time, the U.S. State Department announced that the products of these settlements could be labeled “Made in Israel”, which is a major change in U.S. Palestinian-Israeli policy.
The two moves reflect the acceptance of Israeli settlements by the Trump administration, which are considered by the majority of Palestinians and the international community to be in violation of international law and a major obstacle to Palestinian-Israeli peace.
Pompeo also announced that the United States would call the Palestinian-led international resistance to Israel an “anti-Semitic” movement and prohibit any organization involved in the movement from receiving U.S. government funding. It is not clear which groups will be affected by this.
According to the report, Pompeo’s above statement is largely symbolic, and President-designate Joe Biden’s government may overthrow these policies because Biden promises to take a fairer attitude towards Israelis and Palestinians. Nevertheless, these statements show the close relationship between the outgoing Trump administration and the hardline government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Pompeo also visited the Golan Heights, a strategic highland that Israel seized and annexed from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War. Unlike other members of the international community, the Trump administration recognized last year that the Golan Heights are part of Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gaby Ashkenazi and retired general Avigdor Kahalani accompanied Pompeo on the visit. Kahalani is known for leading Israeli forces to resist the invasion of Syrian tanks during the 1973 Middle East War.
According to the Golan Heights of AFP on November 19, a U.S. Secretary of State visited the occupied West Bank settlement and the Golan Heights for the first time to fully defend the label of “Made in Israel” – Pompeo used his farewell visit to the Middle East to consolidate the legacy of the Trump administration in favor of the Hebrew countries on the 19th. .
According to the report, under high-level military escorts, the U.S. Secretary of State visited the Golan Heights on the afternoon of the 19th. This is a strategic area that Israel seized from Syria during the 1967 Middle East War.
On the evening of the 19th, the Syrian Foreign Ministry pointed out in a communiqué broadcast by the state news agency Syrian Arab News Agency that for Damascus, the visit was “a provocation before the end of the Trump administration and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic”. It also said that “such a sinful visit is to encourage [Israel] to continue its dangerous hostile way”.
In 2019, U.S. President Trump reportedly made the first country to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which now lives 25,000 Israelis and about 23,000 Druzes, most of whom claim to be Syrians and have Israeli residents. Identity.
Pompeo said bluntly, “This is part of Israel, and it is an important part of Israel.”
The report pointed out that under the impetus of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and since Trump took office in the White House, Israeli settlements have developed rapidly in recent years.
More than 450,000 Israelis in the West Bank live in settlements (which are considered illegal under international law), and another 2.8 million Palestinians live there.
A year ago, Pompeo announced that according to Washington, these settlements no longer violate international law.
He reiterated on the 19th that “For a long time, the State Department has taken the wrong approach to settlements… Today, it has to strongly insist on recognizing that settlements are legal”.
In addition, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo visited a Christian Zionist museum in Jerusalem on the 20th and then ended his visit to Israel. The museum was created by a prominent evangelical adviser in the Trump administration.
According to the report, the day before visiting the museum, Pompeo visited an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, becoming the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit an Israeli settlement in history. He also announced a new policy that allowed products from settlements exported to the United States to be labeled “Made in Israel”. He also proposed a new initiative to combat the Palestinian-led international boycott.
The report pointed out that the measures announced by Pompeo on the 19th are largely symbolic and likely to be cancelled by President-elect Biden’s new government. But this is ample indication of the support of the United States for Israel and its Christian allies.