Pompeo calls for new labeling of products from West Bank, directs action to combat boycotts of Israel

Pompeo calls for new labeling of products from West Bank, directs action to combat boycotts of Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued two significant statements regarding U.S. policies on Israel and the Palestinian territories Thursday, revealing a stronger stance behind Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

Pompeo said that as a result of the State Department taking a “reality-based foreign policy approach,” products exported to the U.S. from the territory, particularly the bloc under Israeli control known as Area C, shall be marked as Israeli.

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“In accordance with this announcement, all producers within areas where Israel exercises the relevant authorities – most notably Area C  under the Oslo Accords - will be required to  mark  goods as  ‘Israel’, ’Product of Israel’, or ‘Made in Israel’ when exporting to the United States,” Pompeo said. This approach recognizes that Area C producers operate within the economic and administrative framework of Israel and their goods should be treated accordingly.”

As part of an agreement between Israel and Palestinian leadership, Area C is the designation for the portion of the West Bank exclusively controlled by Israel. Area A is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, while the two sides control different aspects of Area B.

Intussen, the State Department wants differentiation between Palestinian-made products made in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“Under the new approach, we will no longer accept ’West Bank/Gaza’ or similar markings, in recognition that Gaza and the West Bank are politically and administratively separate and should be treated accordingly,”Lui die verklaring.

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Palestinian-controlled territories in the West Bank are governed by the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Gaza is currently ruled by Hamas since its clash with Abbas’ Fatah party in 2007 following the Israeli withdrawal from the area in 2005.

Pompeo’s other statement on Thursday dealt with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that Israel’s opponents have been trying to use to exert economic pressure on the Jewish state. The movement aims to convince countries and companies to cease doing business with Israel and Israeli companies.

“The United States strongly opposes the global discriminatory boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) veldtog (Global BDS Campaign) and practices that facilitate it, such as discriminatory labeling and the publication of databases of companies that operate in Israel or Israeli-controlled areas,” Pompeo said. “As we have made clear, anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. The United States is, daarom, committed to countering the Global BDS Campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism.”

Met daardie einde in sig, Pompeo said the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism will identify organizations that support BDS by taking politically motivated actions meant to punish Israel or those who do business there.

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Pompeo is currently visiting Israel, where he has taken several stops and appeared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked Pompeo and the Trump administration as a whole for their friendship and cooperation.

“Israel is deeply grateful for all that President Trump has done with you and the others of the team to strengthen Israel and to advance peace,” Netanyahu said. “And Israel is deeply grateful to you Mike for your unwavering support.”

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