PSAGOT, West Bank – It would have been out of the question under any other US administration.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is no stranger to breaking with decades of US foreign policy tradition towards the land claimed by the Palestinians and on Thursday he is the most visited Israeli settlement in the West Bank occupying the West Bank Became higher-ranking American officials. Psagot Winery in the hills outside of Jerusalem.
His visit to Israel is replete with policy-changing declarations of boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions for the US and its labeling of products made in parts of the West Bank – land claimed by Palestinians – as in Israel. Was made “
“It’s hard for me to tell what we feel for the secretary of state and what he did for the Jewish people,” the winery owner Yaakov Berg told NBC News.
He said that Pompeo was the first secretary of state of the US who clearly explained that this land is “Israel”.
Most international communities illegally consider settlements based on the principle of the Geneva Convention, an occupying power preventing its population from moving into war-winning regions. Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan in 1967 in a war with its neighbors.
Last year, in a case involving wineries, Europe’s top court ruled that countries should identify products made in Israeli settlements.
Israel fiercely rejected the decision of the European Court, saying it was political, discriminated against the country and reduced the possibility of peace.
But it was a setback for Berg’s business, which produces 600,000 bottles per year and exports 70 percent of them.
After days of European rule, Pompeo announced that the US was reversing its decades-old policy that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were illegal. He said that Washington would no longer take a position on the legality of any settlement except the decision of the Israeli courts.
In a sign of his gratitude, Berg named a “special” wine after Pompeo, which was made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Sehra and Merlot grapes.
Berg explained in a message on Psagot Winery’s website about the background of the liquor that the message of the US administration is extremely important and further strengthens the ongoing fight against boycott and hypocrisy. “We will continue this just and moral struggle.”
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Upon visiting the winery on Thursday, Pompeo not only attempted to legitimize Israeli settlements, but also brought more tangible gifts with them.
In a statement, he said that all producers within Area C of the West Bank for export to the US would need to be marked as “Made in Israel” or similar when exporting to the US.
Area C – where the winery is located – is about 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel is near full control and where most Jewish settlements are located.
Pompeo also announced that the State Department will now honor the boycott, division and sanctions movement (BDS), which calls for the boycott of goods made in Israeli settlements, which are anti-Semitism and punish those who support it .
The BDS said it “consistently and clearly” rejected all forms of racism.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shatayh, meanwhile, said last week that Pompeo’s visit set a “dangerous precedent” that “legalizes settlements.”
Psagot Winery is located in an industrial area not built by settlers not far from the Palestinian city of Ramlala. Its vineyard is scattered in the West Bank on land claimed by Palestinians.
Odeh Hamayel said, his ninety-year-old grandfather, a US citizen, owns about 4 and half acres of land that was seized to increase the Pasagot settlement. He said that a significant proportion of this land – roughly the size of three American football fields – is used by wineries.
NBC has looked at documents that show Hamayel’s grandfather owns the land where the Pagot settlement is. NBC, however, could not verify that it was used by Sagot Winery.
“For over 50 years, as an American citizen, my land, where I have rights, has been confiscated, so as to open a business and profit,” said Humayal. Was given the opportunity to meet Pompeo.
“When Pompeo decides that he is going to step into that settlement block, he is taking something that violates international law,” Hamayal said speaking for himself. “He should know better.”
Paul Goldman reported from Paraguot Winery, from Al-Birh in the West Bank to Lavage Jabari and from London, England to Sapora.