US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Thursday, the first time a senior US official has done so.
Donald Trump’s top diplomat visited Psagot, which was established in 1981 and is known for its winery. Last year he declared that West Bank settlements were not contrary to international law, putting the US at odds with its European allies.
US State Department officials said Pompeo would also tour the Golan Heights, which Trump recognised as Israeli territory in March last year, ending half a century of US foreign policy and again breaking the international consensus.
Known to have presidential ambitions, Pompeo has been keen to curry favour with pro-Israel donors in the US, announcing this week that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement would henceforth be deemed antisemitic.
“We will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw US government support for such groups,” he said.
Marking his Psagot trip, a wine was named in Pompeo’s honour. In June last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named a new settlement in the Golan ‘Trump Heights’ by unveiling a giant gold sign.
Wonderful to see the work being done to preserve the ancient @City_of_David and the new discoveries by archaeologists working in the area. Thank you to Ze’ev Orenstein for the fascinating tour of the site of three thousand years of ancient history. pic.twitter.com/oA0FFQ3maP
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 19, 2020
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