Pompeo visits Israeli settlement in 1st by top US diplomat

Pompeo visits Israeli settlement in 1st by top US diplomat

JERUSALEM – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid the first-ever go to by a high U.S. diplomat to an Israeli settlement within the occupied West Financial institution on Thursday after saying a brand new initiative to fight the worldwide Palestinian-led boycott motion.

The go to to the settlement, and the announcement that the U.S. would model the boycott motion as anti-Semitic and minimize off all funding for teams that take part in it, collectively supplied a parting present to Israel from an administration that has damaged with many years of U.S. coverage to endorse Israel’s claims to territory seized in conflict.

A State Division official, talking on situation of anonymity, confirmed the go to to the Psagot vineyard in a settlement close to Jerusalem to reporters touring with Pompeo, who weren’t allowed to accompany him.

Pompeo had earlier mentioned he would pay a go to to the Golan Heights. Israel seized the West Financial institution and the Golan Heights within the 1967 conflict and later annexed the Golan in a transfer not acknowledged internationally.

Israel has constructed dozens of settlements within the West Financial institution, which the Palestinians need for his or her future state. Many of the worldwide group views the settlements as a violation of worldwide regulation and an impediment to peace.

Pompeo introduced that the U.S. will regard the Palestinian-led boycott motion as “anti-Semitic” and minimize off authorities assist for any organizations collaborating in it, a step that would deny funding to Palestinian and worldwide human rights teams.

“We are going to regard the worldwide, anti-Israel BDS marketing campaign as anti-Semitic,” Pompeo mentioned, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion.

“We are going to instantly take steps to determine organizations that interact in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. authorities assist for such teams,” he mentioned, including that each one nations ought to “acknowledge the BDS motion for the most cancers that it’s.”

BDS organizers solid their motion as a non-violent means of protesting Israel’s insurance policies towards the Palestinians modeled on the marketing campaign that helped finish apartheid in South Africa. The motion has had some restricted success over time however no affect on the Israeli economic system.

Israel views BDS as an assault on its very existence, and has seized on statements by some supporters to accuse it of anti-Semitism, allegations denied by organizers.

In an announcement, the BDS motion reiterated its rejection of “all types of racism, together with anti-Jewish racism,” and accused the U.S. and Israel of making an attempt to silence advocacy for Palestinian rights.

“The BDS motion for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality, stands with all these struggling for a extra dignified, simply and delightful world,” it mentioned. “With our many companions, we will resist these McCarthyite makes an attempt to intimidate and bully Palestinian, Israeli and worldwide human rights defenders into accepting Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism as destiny.”

Pompeo didn’t present further particulars concerning the initiative, and it was unclear what organizations can be liable to shedding funding. Israelis have accused worldwide teams like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Worldwide of supporting BDS, allegations they deny.

Human Rights Watch, whose researcher was deported from Israel final 12 months for previous statements allegedly in assist of BDS, doesn’t name for boycotting Israel however urges firms to keep away from doing enterprise in West Financial institution settlements, saying it makes them complicit in human rights abuses. Amnesty doesn’t take a place on the boycott motion.

“The Trump administration is undermining the frequent battle in opposition to the scourge of antisemitism by equating it with peaceable advocacy of boycotts,” Eric Goldstein, appearing Center East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, mentioned in an announcement.

Israel handed a 2017 regulation that bars entry to foreigners who’ve known as for financial boycotts of Israel or its settlements. The U.S. Home of Representatives handed a decision opposing the boycott motion final 12 months, and several other U.S. states have enacted anti-BDS legal guidelines.

Nearly all Palestinian organizations assist the boycott motion, however underneath President Donald Trump the U.S. has already minimize off almost all types of assist to the Palestinians. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to revive the help as a part of efforts to revive the peace course of.

Pompeo spoke at a press convention with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who mentioned the Israel-U.S. alliance had reached “unprecedented heights” underneath the Trump administration.

Netanyahu thanked the administration for shifting its embassy to contested Jerusalem, abandoning the U.S. place that Israeli settlements are opposite to worldwide regulation, recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and taking a tough line in opposition to Iran.

Israel captured east Jerusalem and the West Financial institution within the 1967 conflict. The Palestinians need each territories to be a part of their future state and think about the settlements as a violation of worldwide regulation and an impediment to peace — a place endorsed by a lot of the worldwide group.

Trump’s Mideast plan, which overwhelmingly favored Israel and was rejected by the Palestinians, would enable Israel to annex as much as a 3rd of the West Financial institution, together with all of its settlements there, that are dwelling to just about 500,000 Israelis.

“For a very long time, the State Division took the incorrect view of settlements,” Pompeo mentioned, however it now acknowledges that “settlements may be finished in a means that (is) lawful, acceptable and correct.”

Neither Netanyahu nor Pompeo mentioned something concerning the U.S. election. Pompeo, like Trump, has but to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Netanyahu congratulated Biden and referred to him because the president-elect in an official assertion earlier this week.

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