US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Friday on a ten-day trip to US allies in Europe and the Middle East, including Israel.
According to a Walla News report on Thursday, Pompeo will visit the Golan Heights as well as Shomron and Yehudah during his visit to Israel, the first US secretary of state to do so. The US Secret Service, officials at the US Embassy in Jerusalem, and Israel’s Shin Bet are preparing for the historic visit.
Previous U.S. high-ranking officials have always avoided visiting the Shomron and the Golan Heights due to their “disputed status.” The US recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019 and later that year, in November, Pompeo annulled the 1978 U.S. State Department decision that Israeli “settlements” in the West Bank are “inconsistent with international law.” According to an Axios report, Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman were the driving forces behind the shift in U.S. policy toward Yehudah and Shomron.
Pompeo’s announcement regarding the change of policy toward Israeli “settlements” came a week after the EU high court ruled that all EU member states are required to place special labels marking all goods stemming from Israeli “settlements” in the West Bank.
The EU court’s ruling was in response to an appeal by a winery owner in Psagot, a religious yishuv in Binyamin. Following Pompeo’s recognition of the legal status of Yehudah and Shomron, the winery owner named a new line of wine after Pompeo and sent him a case of wine. Pompeo is planning on visiting the winery in Psagot during his visit to Israel.
Pompeo’s trip will see him visiting France, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)