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Pompeo first US Secretary of State to visit West Bank settlement

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not only visited a settlement winery, but also announced that West Bank settlement products exported to the United States may be labeled as made in Israel.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (L) speaks alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following a security briefing on Mount Bental in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, near Merom Golan on the border with Syria, on November 19, 2020. - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first top American diplomat to visit a West Bank Jewish settlement and the Golan Heights, cementing Donald Trump's strongly pro-Israel legacy. (Photo by Patrick Semansky / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP v

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Psagot winery today, becoming the first top US diplomat to visit a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The visit was described as private and was heavily guarded. “It is a blessing to be here in Judea and Samaria. May I not be the last secretary of state to visit this beautiful land,” Pompeo wrote in the Psagot guestbook, using the Hebrew names for the West Bank area.

The vineyard named one of its wines after Pompeo, hailing his 2019 announcement that the Donald Trump administration would no longer consider Israeli West Bank settlements in violation of international law. Pompeo said at the time, “After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President [Ronald] Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law. … Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.”

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