Mike Pompeo became the first Secretary of State to ever visit a Jewish settlement when he visited an Israeli winery in the West Bank. This visit drew protesters from Palestine to demonstrate their disdain for the visit. They threw stones at soldiers outside the winery.
After the visit, Pompeo made the announcement that products coming from Israel imported into the US will be labeled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel”. The Secretary of State said, “All producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities… will be required to mark goods as ‘Israel’, ‘Product of Israel’, or ‘Made in Israel’. Both of these moves are a great step away from previous US policy. The Trump Administration has designated the West Bank and Golan Heights as “occupied territories”.
Only hours before this announcement did Pompeo announce that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Israel was anti-semitic. He said, “We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups. We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is.”
There has been a longstanding legal opinion from the State Department that declared Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law. In January, Pompeo called that opinion “deeply flawed”. A few months before that, he issued a declaration that said that the US “no longer recognizes Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law”.
After the visit was announced through media reports on Wednesday, the winery was met with dozens of Palestinians protesting the visit from the Secretary of State. Pompeo arrived in an Israeli military helicopter and was met with protests from a radical leftwing group called Israeli Peace Now.
In the Psagot visitor’s book Pompeo wrote, “It is a blessing to be here in Judea and Samaria. May I not be the last Secretary of State to visit this beautiful land.”
Sources: Breitbart, The Hill; Photo – The Times of Israel