Pompeo pays unprecedented visit to the West Bank and Golan Heights

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In a tour marked by the seal of farewell, the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, defended this Thursday in Jerusalem the “legality of the settlements built in an appropriate way” by Israel. After reclaiming his diplomatic legacy in a joint appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he has shown faith in his policy with a visit – unprecedented for a senior Washington official – to a colony in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, territories occupied since 1967.

“We have done incredible things (during the term of Donald Trump),” boasted the head of US diplomacy to a pleased Netanyahu. “The simple fact of recognizing reality” when moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was praised by Pompeo, as the beacon that has illuminated a cooperation between the US and Israel “as never before” throughout the last four years. “Jerusalem is the legitimate, true capital of Israel. It’s crazy that this was not admitted for decades. It has been the right thing, the right thing, ”stressed the Secretary of State, with deep Christian convictions and who has repeatedly visited the Holy City in the exercise of his office. In December 2017, Trump upended the international consensus on Jerusalem for seven decades by recognizing it as the exclusive capital of the Jewish state, and consequently excluding the eastern part from being the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Pompeo later visited the settlement of Psagot, where the vineyards and winery of the same name are located. Peaceful Israeli NGOs and Palestinian groups have denounced that the land was usurped from its legitimate Palestinian owners following the occupation of the West Bank. With his controversial presence in the vicinity of Ramallah – the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority – the Secretary of State intends to thank the Israeli owners who have named one of his wines after him.

The Psagot wineries gained notoriety among Jewish nationalism for their long struggle with European justice to stop including their origin from the occupied West Bank on their labels, and instead offer themselves as a product of Israel. The Luxembourg court ruled against him last year, upholding the obligation in force since 2015 to label the origin of imports from the West Bank. Shortly after, the State Department crossed out the judicial decision as biased against Israel and stopped considering it as “illegal per se“The Israeli settlements in a reversal of the diplomatic doctrine maintained by the US for decades.

Before making the announced visit to the Golan in the company of the Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, Pompeo assured in Jerusalem that “the recognition that [la meseta siria anexionada en 1980] is part of Israel has been an important historic decision by President Trump, recognizing the existing reality. The Israeli Army occupied the Golan Heights in the Six Day War and retained them after intense fighting with Syria in the Yom Kippur War (1973). In gratitude for Washington’s declaration in favor of Israel’s sovereignty over this territory, the Netanyahu government christened one of the new settlements in the hills that dominate the triple border between Syria, Lebanon and the state as Trump Heights Hebrew.

Israel bombed Iranian and Syrian targets around Damascus early Wednesday in attacks that killed a dozen fighters in retaliation for booby traps on the Golan Heights border. The missile launch occurred hours before the Secretary of State’s arrival in Jerusalem on his farewell tour of the Middle East.

Washington, as Pompeo also announced to Netanyahu, will “immediately” consider the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic. “We will adopt urgent measures to identify the organizations involved in the anti-Israeli hate campaign and we will withdraw (financial) support for these groups,” he added. Faced with the definition of Israel, now shared by the current head of the State Department, the BDS movement claims the anti-racist nature of its campaigns, aimed at pressuring Israel to end the occupation, in line with the international movement that emerged against South Africa of apartheid in the last decades of the 20th century.

Netanyahu limited himself to thanking Israel’s achievements with glowing praise for the “remarkable team” of the Trump Administration. He cited the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital and the transfer from Tel Aviv of the US Embassy, ​​sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the White House peace plan (which authorized the partial annexation of the West Bank), the breaking of the agreement nuclear power and sanctions on Iran, the normalization of relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan … But at no time did he openly mention a possible Republican mandate in the White House.

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