Mike Pompeo became the first head of US diplomacy to visit the occupied territories on Thursday. He traveled to the Psagot winery, near Ramallah, and to the Golan Heights, an area taken from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed in 1981. What seems to be his last trip to Israel before the replacement in the White House served him to demonstrate, once again, that the American commitment to the Jewish state is above the resolutions of the United Nations and the policy of his country in recent decades.
For a year, the Republican Administration stopped considering the settlements as illegal. This Thursday, Pompeo announced that the US will label the exports of the colonies with the mention “Made in Israel.” And he reinforced this decision by declaring as “anti-Semitic” the international movement Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which calls for retaliation against Israel for its actions against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. For this reason, the United States is committed to facing the global BDS campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism, ”declared the Secretary of State, in a line similar to that defended by Emmanuel Macron in 2017 when equating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism , a confusing assimilation of synonyms because there are Jews who are neither Zionists nor Israelis.
Despite international law considering all settlements illegal, the Israeli occupation is advancing and about 700,000 settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The EU has required since 2015 that all products from the occupied territories explain that they originate from a colony, a measure described as “pernicious” by Pompeo. A large part of the Psagot cellar stands on private Palestinian land, but this did not seem to matter to him, as it added to the ultra-nationalist discourse and reaffirmed the “historical and religious right of the Jewish people to this land.”
Pompeo also visited Qaser el Yehud, the site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, in Jericho, and flew to the Golan Heights by helicopter. “Imagine the risk it would pose to the West and Israel if this territory were under Assad’s control,” he said. And he remembered Trump, who last year broke again with the international consensus to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over this occupied land of Syria.
The spokesman for the Palestinian Presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeina, called the visit a “flagrant challenge to all international legitimacy.” He asked the United Nations Security Council to “assume its responsibilities and implement its decisions, especially resolution 2334, which was adopted with the approval of the previous US Administration.” This resolution condemned the Jewish settlements in occupied territory, but, as seen in the last four years, it has remained symbolic.