Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit an Israeli settlement Thursday, continuing an unprecedented alliance between the two countries, according to reports.
Pompeo visited the Psagot territory, which is located in the West Bank, the Washington Examiner reported. He appeared at the Psagot Winery, which named a wine after him. He also visited Qasr el Yahud, the traditional site of the baptism of Jesus, Kylie Atwood of CNN reported. (RELATED: US To Label Products Produced In Specific Israeli Settlements As ‘Made In Israel’)
As we reported was expected: Sec Pompeo has arrived at the Psagot Winery at an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, according to a State Dept official. Pompeo also made a stop at Qasr el Yahud, the traditional site of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan Valley, the official said.
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) November 19, 2020
Pompeo also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, according to his Twitter. Prior to his arrival, he announced new guidelines declaring that goods produced in Israeli settlements controlled by its military would be labeled as “Made In Israel,” The Hill reported. He also announced the state department will withdraw any funding to groups that support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The U.S. is committed to countering the Global BDS Campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism. I am directing U.S. Special Envoy @USEAntiSemitism to identify organizations engaged in politically motivated actions intended to penalize or limit commercial relations with Israel.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 19, 2020
The State Department reversed its position on Israeli settlements in 2019 that previously declared them to be illegal, NBC reported. The U.S. now defers to the Israeli court system on the legality of the settlements. The United Nations and the overwhelming majority of countries still consider the settlements to be illegal. (RELATED: ‘Terror Tunnel’ Discovered Stretching From Gaza To Israel)
The State Department has taken other measures in recent years to strengthen its relationship with Israel, such as referring to the Golan Heights territory as Israeli-controlled rather than Israeli-occupied, the Guardian reported. Most notably, President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.