The city of Al-Bireh witnessed clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli occupation forces in protest against US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Psagot settlement built on the city’s lands, in the first visit of a US Secretary of State to a settlement in the Palestinian territories.
This visit comes amid Palestinian official and popular rejection, as political circles described it as a provocation, and it represents an American partnership for the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian presidency condemned the visit “strongly”, and presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement, “This decision is a blatant challenge to all international legitimacy decisions (…) This American move will not legitimize the Israeli settlements that will disappear sooner or later.”
Abu Rudeineh called on the international community, specifically the Security Council, to “assume its responsibilities and implement its decisions, especially the last resolution 2334, which came with the approval of the previous US administration.”
Pompeo announced that the United States classifies exports from settlements as an Israeli industry, stressing that his country has a great commitment to support Israel.
According to a November 16 statement by 4 Republican senators, the previous Democratic Administration’s guidelines stipulated that settlement products be labeled “Made in the West Bank.”
The US Secretary of State emphasized that the new instructions apply “mainly” to Area (C), which is part of the West Bank completely controlled by Israel and inhabited by a majority of settlers.
Pompeo revealed new rules for exports from the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, which will be referred to as a “West Bank” product, and the same will apply to exports from the Gaza Strip, which will be issued under the label “Gaza.”
It follows from these decisions that the Trump administration no longer considers that the exported products come from the Palestinian territories or “Palestine”.
Pompeo believes that this step is necessary, because “Gaza and the West Bank are separated politically and administratively and must be dealt with on this basis.”
The Oslo Accords, which Israel signed with the Palestinians in 1993, divided the West Bank into 3 areas (A), (B) and (C).
Areas (A) and (B) constitute 40% of the lands, and Area (A) is subject to full Palestinian control, while Area (B) is subject to Palestinian civilian control, while Israel controls the security side there.
As for Area (C), it is subject to Israeli security and civil control, and it is a disputed area left for the final solution between the two sides.
A Palestine Liberation Organization official condemned Pompeo’s declaration regarding settlement products, describing it as “a step to support the occupation and cover up its crimes.”
During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in occupied Jerusalem, Pompeo announced a decision to classify a number of organizations, including the BDS movement (BDS), as anti-Semitic.
Pompeo addressed Netanyahu by saying, “I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organizations that participate in the abhorrent boycott behavior and withdraw US government support for such groups,” describing the BDS movement as “cancer.”
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the efforts of US President Donald Trump in support of Israel.
Netanyahu said that the alliance between Washington and Tel Aviv had reached “unprecedented” levels during the Trump era, and that it was thanks to him that Israel had achieved peace with Bahrain, the Emirates and Sudan.
Mahmoud Nawajah, general coordinator of the BDS movement in Palestine, explained to Al-Jazeera that the statements of the US Secretary of State against the movement are a clear indication of the Trump administration’s involvement against the rights of the Palestinian people.
Nawajah added that Pompeo’s statements come within the framework of supporting the Israeli right, and it is part of the Israeli government’s attempts to criminalize the BDS movement around the world.
He said that the statements of the US Secretary of State would only bring more failure in efforts to criminalize and undermine the movement.