The U.S. Secretary of State became the first US senior official to visit Judea and Samaria.
He said that the Jews had a historic and religious right to the land, something which no past US administration has ever recognized. In addition, he referred to the area by its Biblical name, Judea and Samaria.
The products from the West Bank imported in the U.S. will be labelled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
He said the new guidelines apply “most notably” to Area C of the West Bank which is under full Israeli civil and military control.
Pompeo became the the first US senior official to visit Judea and Samaria where he went to the Psagot Winery in the Shaar Binyamin Industrial Park. He was expected later to travel to the Golan Heights.
Under Pompeo, the State Department consider the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to be legitimate. He said that the Jews had a historic and religious right to the land, something which no past US administration has ever recognized. In addition, he referred to the area by its Biblical name, Judea and Samaria.
Pompeo’s announcement last year that the Trump administration would no longer consider Israeli settlements to be illegal was hailed by the Psagot vineyard, which has been fighting to keep the label “Israel” on its bottles, rather than the phrase “Israeli settlements” demanded by several European court rulings.
In order to thank him for this, the vineyard had named one of its wines after Pompeo.
The U.S. Secretary of State also announced that the U.S. would from now the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as ‘’antisemitic’’.
“We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups,” Pompeo said.
‘’We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is,” he added.
On Wednesday, Pompeo attended in Jerusalem a trilateral ceremony hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that included Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani to discuss how to advance the Abraham Accords.
Pompeo said that the normalization deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are a victory for peace and religious freedom in the Middle East.
“These agreements open up wonderful opportunities for commerce and economic development,” he said. “They also tell malign actors like the Islamic Republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning, and that they are ever more isolated in this and shall forever be until they change their direction,” he added. “They also advance religious freedom. Muslims will be able to more easily pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, thanks to the new flights through Abu Dhabi and Manama.”
The Bahraini minister, who made his first official trip to Israel, said that he discussed with Pompeo and Netanyahu “how we can achieve the objective of the Abraham Accords in practical terms.”
He said he hopes for e-visas for his citizens to travel freely between the countries and for up to 14 weekly flights from Bahrain to Tel Aviv, as well as flights to Eilat and Haifa.
“The peace we are pursuing will be a warm peace that will deliver clear benefits to our peoples,” said Al-Zayani.
In his remarks, Netanyahu thanked the Trump administration for helping to establish the accords and greater stability in the region, saying that “peace between Israel and Bahrain is built on foundations of mutual appreciation and great interests.”
“We are unleashing an incredibly potent economic force. A force for peace for both our peoples,” he said.
In his press briefing with Pompeo, the Israeli Prime Minister stated: ‘’Israel is deeply grateful for all that President Trump has done with you and the others of the team to strengthen Israel and to advance peace. And Israel is deeply grateful to you Mike for your unwavering support.’’
Pompeo’s visit to Israel is part of a tour of several countries, including France, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Georgia and Saudi Arabia. It will likely be his last tour of the Middle East ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in January.