Pompeo expects to visit the exiled Israeli settlement

JERUSALEM (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expected trip to the West Bank winery this week will be the first time a top U.S. diplomat has visited an Israeli settlement, a gift from the administration that has taken unprecedented steps to support Israel’s claim. In war-winning territory.

The Pasogot winery, established as part of the so-called Palestinian land, is part of a sprawling network of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank that violates international law and is a major obstacle for most members of the international community. Peace.

The award-winning winery, which provides tour and event venues, focuses on Israel’s efforts to promote tourism in the occupied territories and symbolizes its fight against the campaign to boycott or label products from the colonies.

Reported by the Israeli media but not officially confirmed, Pompeo’s expected visit will radically depart from the past administration, the Democrats and Republicans, who have repeatedly condemned Israel over the construction of the settlement – to little effect.

President Donald Trump has recognized Jerusalem, which has already fought as Israel’s capital, and the decades-old U.S. Condemn the situation because the compromises are incompatible with international law. The administration also recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 war, where Pompeo could also visit.

Trump’s central plan, which posed a huge challenge to Israel And an immediate rejection by the Palestinians, would have allowed Israel to annex about one-third of the West Bank, all of its settlements.

The visit to the winery, which last year unveiled a mixed red wine named for secretary, would be the second gift given to Israel in the last week of Trump’s presidency, as neither Trump nor Pompeo have acknowledged Biden’s victory.

The visit could also burn Pompeo’s credentials with Engel’s Christians and other supporters of Israel, if he should pursue a post-Trump political career.

The Falick family of Florida, owners of a ubiquitous chain of duty-free American shops, are major investors in wineries. An Associated Press investigation last year Over the past decade, the family has donated at least જૂ 5.6 million to groups based in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Since 2000, they have donated at least 7 1.7 million to pro-Israel politicians in the US, including both Democrats and Republicans, including Trump.

One of the owners, Simon Falick, could not confirm Pompeo’s visit, but told the AP that “it is a great honor to welcome him and thank him for his continued support of Israel.”

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, the territories the Palestinians wanted for their future state. Since then, it has built about 130 settlements and dozens of small outposts, ranging from groups of mobile homes on remote hills to fully developed towns. Occupied More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank and more than 2,060,000 live in annexed East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say the colonies make it almost impossible to create a viable state – which was one of the main goals of the settlers they established.

Immigrants, most of whom oppose the Palestinian state and see Jerusalem and the West Bank as the biblical and historical heart of Israel, say they are scapegoats for a long-running approach to resolving the conflict that will never succeed.

“More important than where (Pompeo) visits … there is a message,” said Oded Revi, the mayor of the Ephret settlement. “The message he is taking with him is not to fall into a trap (former US President) Jimmy Carter sees us as an obstacle to peace, treats us like second-class citizens.”

Palestinians say many of the settlements, including Sesagot and its wineries, were built on land stolen from private Palestinian Palestinian owners. Residents of the nearby town of Al-Bireh – many of whom are American citizens – say the settlement collapsed after Israel erected security fences around Sasagot during the Palestinian INFEDA or uprising in the early 2000s.

Al-Bireh’s two sisters, Kainat and Karema Quran, say they have documents showing that they have a plot of land on which some vineyards and winery buildings were set up.

“Imagine that your own land, your property, that you lived far away and your ancestors lived far away, is taken this way by strangers, by force, and you can’t touch it,” Cain said.

At Knif Trash, Al-Bireh City Council Member, who has a U.S. Being a citizen, he has been campaigning for years on behalf of the community to get the occupied lands back. He said the settlers seized a total of 1000 dunams (250 acres), of which 400 are used by wineries.

Falik said he was not aware of the claims about the land on which the winery was built, and that the land purchased directly from the Israeli government had recently been relocated to an industrial area near the West Bank.

“In Judea, there should be no controversy over products produced by Jews,” he wrote to the AP, referring to its biblical name on the southwest coast. “The location and success of the winery should not be a source of controversy, but of Jewish and Israeli pride.”

Last November, the European Court of Justice ruled that European countries must label products originating in colonies.. Challenged an earlier ruling, which produces 600,000 bottles a year and exports 70% of them, a decision that has been made since Sasagot Winery.

Israel has hit out at the decision to make labels mandatory, saying it would be unjust, discriminatory and incite a Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.

A week after the verdict, Pompeo announced that the U.S. It no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law., Reversing four decades of American policy.

To express his gratitude, Sasagot released a new wine “Pompeo”, a combination of Carnet Sovignon, Sirah and Merlot.

“The US administration’s message is extremely important and strengthens our ongoing fight against the boycott and hypocrisy campaign,” said Yakov Berg, CEO of the winery. “We will continue this justice and moral struggle.”

A very different conflict is going on in Al-Bireh, where City Councilman Trash and other residents plan to oppose a visit to Pompeo’s encroachment settlement.

“We want to tell Pompeo that instead of asking Israel to return American citizens to the land, you are here to celebrate business.”


Collaborative press authors Al-Bireh, West Bank Mohamed Daraghmeh and Jerusalem’s Joseph Federman contributed to the report.