Last week, the American secretary of state arrived in Israel, visiting, among other places, the Golan Heights and the West Bank village of Psagot—where he toured a winery that has named a wine after him. Secretary Pompeo’s itinerary provoked outrage from the usual corners, with one commentator accusing him of “trolling the world.” But even the widely repeated claim that Pompeo was the first secretary of state to visit the Golan is false—Warren Christopher went there in official capacity in 1993. As for the criticisms, Dan Diker writes:
Pompeo’s visit to Psagot . . . reflected the agreed legal and diplomatic framework of the 1995 Oslo Interim Accords, which were internationally witnessed and guaranteed by the United States, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Norway, and the European Union. The accords affirmed in no uncertain terms that Israeli and Palestinian Authority construction and building rights in areas under their respective jurisdictions would continue until the final status negotiated disposition of the territories.
Psagot is located in what Oslo designates as Area C, where Israel is given exclusive rights. Of course, writes Diker, these subtleties are lost on those who rush to proclaim it an “illegal settlement.”
It is regrettable that some uninformed or willfully blind journalists and commentators took the liberty of recasting Psagot and other Jewish communities east of the 1949 armistice lines as “illegal.” . . . Pompeo’s visit and his statements were correctives to [such] errors of judgment.
Likewise, Diker takes issue with the New York Times’s description of Pompeo’s visit, and his concomitant condemnation of anti-Israel boycotts, as “Trump’s gifts to Israel”:
Pompeo’s recognition of Jewish communities in Area C of Judea and Samaria and his condemnation of anti-Semitic product labeling and of the boycott, divest, and sanction movement (BDS) were the U.S. administration’s affirmations of . . . Jewish rights. They were also expressions of much needed moral clarity. Regrettably, political propagandists and various [self-styled] authorities in Israel and abroad have for years politicized Israel’s fundamental legal and historical rights.
More about: Golan Heights, Mike Pompeo, Oslo Accords, West Bank