Pompeo to Make Controversial Visit to Disputed West Bank
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week will make an unprecedented official visit to a settlement in the West Bank and to the Golan Heights, both territories conquered by Israel from its neighbors during the 1967 war and which are under international dispute. First reported in Walla News, Pompeo’s visit will include meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. The Israeli leg will be just one of a seven-state farewell tour conducted by the secretary, who earlier this week seemed to refuse to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election. Pompeo will visit a winery in the West Bank settlement of Psagot, next to Ramallah and about 3 miles north of Jerusalem, which made headlines last year when a European Union court decreed that its products – and all others produced in Jewish communities in the disputed territories – must be specifically marked as “Made in Israeli settlements” for distribution in Europe. Following the decision, Pompeo issued a statement calling the establishment of “Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank … not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” upending longstanding US policy. To express its gratitude, the winery then named a bottle after the secretary.