Nov 19 2020 - 06:54
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Pompeo, on visit to Israel, says he will go to Golan Heights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would visit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار USA, Golan Heights, Israel,Mike Pompeo,US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would visit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
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Pompeo, on visit to Israel, says he will go to Golan Heights
Lebanon News
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would visit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, marking the Trump administration's break with previous U.S. policy on the strategic plateau.

"Today I'll have the chance to visit the Golan Heights. The simple recognition of this as part of Israel, too, was a decision President Trump made that is historically important and simply a recognition of reality," Pompeo said in Jerusalem.
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President Donald Trump in 2019 recognized Israel's claim of sovereignty over the parts of the Golan that it captured from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized by the United Nations and most of the international community.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: "Pompeo's visit to occupied land is an active participation in the occupation."

Israel says the Golan - which overlooks northern Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - is a bulwark against Syria and Iranian forces.

Pompeo was also due to visit a settler winery in Psagot, a hilltop Israeli settlement near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Haaretz newspaper reported. TV footage showed American flags and what appeared to be security personnel there, while an Israeli military helicopter landed nearby. The U.S. embassy in Israel declined to comment on that trip.
A year ago Pompeo announced that the United States no longer viewed Israel’s settlements as “inconsistent with international law,” in a further reversal of decades of U.S. policy. In response, Psagot named one of its wines after Pompeo.

It is unclear whether Trump's decision on settlements would be reversed by a future U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden. However Biden is expected to take a tougher line on Israeli settlements in general.

Palestinian officials condemned Pompeo's proposed visit.
"This visit hurts every Palestinian, and is against all international laws," Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maayah told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We hope that things will change in the future with the American (government), and that, again, the Americans will (return to dealing) with settlements as entities against international law."

Pompeo, who announced new U.S. sanctions on Iran while in Israel, said Washington would also step up action against pro-Palestinian efforts to isolate Israel economically and diplomatically.

"I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) conduct and withdraw U.S. government support," he said.

"We will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic," Pompeo said. Supporters of BDS dispute that designation, saying they are against all forms of racism.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch denounced Pompeo's announcement, saying he had falsely equated peaceful support for boycotts of Israel with anti-Semitism.

"Instead of combating systemic racism and far-right extremism in the United States, the Trump administration is undermining the common fight against the scourge of anti-Semitism by equating it with peaceful advocacy of boycotts," said Eric Goldstein, the group's acting Middle East and North Africa director.


REUTERS
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